Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Small farms on the grow
. . . .

Small farms on the grow

Rick Coates - January 26th, 2006
It is an exciting time to be in the business of agriculture, especially if you live in Northern Michigan. The rise of the wine region, new markets for the cherry industry and a change in consumer trends are creating new markets for the small family farm operations. And this weekend hundreds will gather in Grayling for the 7th Annual Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference.
The small American farm was considered to be on the path of extinction in the 1980s, seemingly giving way to large corporate farming entities and the increase of agricultural products coming from overseas. But this trend is changing, as American consumers desire to have a more personal connection with the food they consume.
“There is no question that the consumer is desiring that connection, maybe not necessarily knowing the grower personally, but at least knowing where the food came from,” said Stan Moore, Antrim County MSU Extension director and one of the conference organizers. “The popularity of farmers’ markets points to the fact that people are preferring fresh, locally grown foods.”

HOW SMALL?
Moore said that the conference grew out of a one-day seminar on grazing issues seven years ago to a conference that now offers seminars that address technical and marketing aspects of the industry. So what defines a small farm?
“We really have stayed away from defining it by acreage or production levels. We basically leave it up to the attendee to define if they are a small farm or not,” said Moore.
Conference organizers believe that conference appeals to anyone who has an interest in farming in Northern Michigan.
“Certainly if you are thinking about starting a farm, or taking some acreage and growing a crop or raising animals, this conference is a great resource and a place to network,” said Moore. “We have several examples of people throughout Northern Michigan that have become successful in their agricultural endeavors with small plots of land.”
Moore said that he and his colleagues also try to introduce new agricultural opportunities as well.
“Steve Fouch (Benzie County Extension Director) made a presentation about the Saskatoon Berries. These berries (grown primarily in Canada) withstand frigid temperatures and Fousch felt they would be a natural here,” said Moore. “We had people attend his presentation who are now growing these berries here.”

WHAT’S NEW
Each year after the conference is over organizers survey participants as to what topics they are interested in for the future. Moore said they take the results and shape the agenda for next year based on that. The formula seems to be working as the conference is expecting 700 plus attendees this year.
Popular sessions this year will be “Going Organic in Michigan - Perceptions, Reality & Opportunities,” “Food is Medicine,” and “Food We Love - NW Michigan Food System Project.”
The conference will also have 30 plus vendors offering an array of services and products for farmers and consumers alike. Moore said the value added products like cheeses and jams are very popular items sold in the vendor area.
Conference sponsors include Michigan State University Extension County Offices of the North Region, Michigan State University— Project GREEEN, C.S. Mott Chair in Sustainable Agriculture at MSU, Michigan Organic Food & Farm Alliance—MOFFA, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance—NLEA and Michigan Food and Farming Systems.
The Small Farm Conference starts at 8 a.m. on January 21 and is at the Grayling High School. Call 231-533-8818 or visit www.web1.msue.msu.edu/iac/farmconf/#Trade_Show for a complete schedule of activities and to download a registration form.

ELSEWHERE ON THE AGRICULTURAL FRONT:
The future continues to look bright for both the cherry and wine industry in Northern Michigan. Last week several hundred cherry and grape growers gathered along with international experts at the 2006 INTERNATIONAL CHERRY CONFERENCE AND NW MICHIGAN VINEYARD SHOW to discuss the future of both industries. There were lots of smiles and both cherries and grapes had a banner growing season in 2005.
Leading experts from New Zealand, Poland, Hungary, South America, Germany and Italy shared their expertise and commented on Northern Michigan’s rise as an internationally recognized fruit growing region, especially in the area of grapes and cherries.
These experts gave glowing reviews on the wines they tasted from the region as well as the many value-added cherry products. Look for Northern Michigan’s stock to continue to rise in the wine world as the 2005 wine vintages reach maturity.

In addition to his duties as a contributing editor with the Express, Rick Coates is the spokesperson for the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association and serves on the board for the Michigan Farm Marketing and Agri-Tourism Association.





 
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