All The Farm That Is Fit To Print

Monday, October 31, 2011

New Colt

Here's our new colt here at Rice Creek Shires. Interested in purchasing a Shire horse? Come visit our website http://www.RiceCreekShires.com

Friday, October 28, 2011

Looking at Draft Horse Riding

By Marilyn Witt

Although they were specifically bred to pull a plow or a carriage, you may be surprised to find that large draft horses can be ridden as well! Draft horses are known for their heavy build and impressive strength, but this does not work against them at all when it comes to riding for pleasure or even for competition. Many draft horses are used in trail riding and with proper training, they do very well in dressage competition as well. Despite their large size, they can move very lightly and be very responsive to signals from their rider. It is generally believed that with the right training, any draft horse may be ridden, although their larger girth can be a little uncomfortable for a rider who is not used to them.

If you own a young draft horse and are looking into training it for riding, you need to keep in mind that they do not develop like quarter horses. Their size alone makes them a lot different from the lighter breeds that were bred with riding or dressage in mind, and their bones are simply slower to mature. Remember that their spine does not close until sometime in their fifth year, and many trainers tend to stay away from riding them before that point. Before training them for the saddle however, they can still be trained for bathing, and for gentleness when their feet are handled. Just spending time with your horse in terms of leading, driving and lunging will help get them to a place where they are going to be much more prepared for the saddle.

A draft horse has many advantages when you are thinking about riding. Their large size can make their movement particularly smooth, and their gentle and docile temperament make them a real winner when it comes to how well they handle new riders. Do remember that you might need to do some leg stretches if you are planning for a long session in the saddle; their increased girth is going to take some getting used to. If you are looking to ride your draft horse, always make sure that you do a wither tracing before you purchase a saddle. Too many people end up with a saddle that pinches or is otherwise uncomfortable for both horse and rider otherwise.

When you are looking at riding draft horses, you may be wondering what breeds are available. As mentioned above, as long as they have been trained to it, draft horses can make great riding horses. Belgians are definitely a popular breed for riding, as are Percherons and Clydesdales. Gypsy Vanners are also quite popular where they can be found, as are Shire horses. These horses were all bred to pull and to drag rather than to ride, but this may not always have been the case. Percherons, for example, are thought to be the modern descendants of the destriers that carried knights to war during the Middle Ages.

What distinguishes riding a draft horse from riding a normal horse? The first thing that most draft horse riders will point you towards is the power. There is an amazing lot of muscle on the frame of a draft horse, and when they have a rider on their back, their endurance is impressive. Clydesdales especially have a reputation for being excellent to ride. They have an impressively fluid gait, and their strength serves them well without getting in the way.

While the steadiness and patience of a draft horse make it an instant favorite for trail riding, you may be a little surprised to hear that they do very well in dressage competition as well. Clydesdales and Belgians especially make an impressive showing in the dressage ring, and their owners swear that they have an heightened capacity to learn. One example of their biddable nature and rock-steady temperament is their presence in mounted police. They are also highly sought out when disabled people are interested in riding.

Take some time and consider whether you are interested in draft horse riding. This is a sport that is seeing more and more usage, and if you are interested, start searching for a venue where you can give it a shot. Draft horses are willing and loving animals, and you may find that they are a perfect match for you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The magnificent Shire is powerful and muscular, and is the tallest breed of horse!

Author: Joan Childs

A true "gentle giant", the Shire is renowned for its docile temperament and strong work ethic. From battlefield to farmland, this noble horse has been a well mannered servant and faithful companion. The Shire's great ancestors came from the "Old English Black Horse" of the central regions of England, counties commonly referred to as the "shires".

Though its ancestry dates back to the Great Horses of the Medieval era, its use throughout history is one of aiding in the civilization of modern man. In the twelfth century, these heavy cob type horses were used as warhorses. Being strong and docile they were well suited to carrying the three hundred or so pounds of a fully armored knight into battle. Then farmers found their worth, being able to pull farm equipment and clear marshlands.

As the industrial age embarked, Shire horses were the original breed used to pull carts to deliver ale from the breweries. They have also been used in the United Kingdom as ceremonial drum horses in many royal processions. The Drum Horses lead the Household Calvary, ridden by drummers who work the reins with their feet while holding drumsticks in their hands.

Horse Breeds

The Shire is a Draft Horse or Heavy horse. The Draft horse is also known as the Draught Horse or Dray Horse. 'Dray' is a word derived from the Anglo-Saxon term for 'to haul' or 'to draw'.
The heavier draft horses were developed from the bulkier type of equines found in the northern hemisphere. These hardy horses evolved to survive in a colder harsher climate, and are much heavier and broader than the light horses. The breeds in this horse class are referred to as cold blood breeds, in reference to their quiet and calm temperament. They are heavy in the body, strong legged, and often have "feathers", or long hair, covering their large hooves.

Horse Backgrounds

Robert Blackwell, a well known English livestock breeder began breeding shires in the mid 1700's. The earliest recorded shire stallion was the Packington Blind Horse, born in 1755. This horse's great ancestors came from the "Old English Black Horse" of the central regions of England, counties commonly referred to as the "shires".
It is recorded that from 1199 to 1216, "one hundred stallions of large stature" were imported from Holland to breed with the stout cob type local mares of the midland counties of England. There, these heavy cob type horses were used by the knights in the twelfth century as warhorses. Their great strength and docile nature made them well suited to carry a fully armored knight weighing some three hundred pounds into battle.
Henry the eighth is credited with first applying the name "Shire" to these warhorses in the early 1500's. He was determined to exploit the great worth of the Shire as a warhorse, and in 1535 passed a law prohibiting the breeding of any horse less than 15 hands high.
The invention of gunpowder in the sixteenth century changed the fate of the Shire. Smaller, quicker horses were needed in battle, and the number of these giant horses began to decline. Soon, however farmers discovered their worth as a farm animal and the numbers rebounded as they pulled farm equipment and helped clear marshland. The protective heavy hair on the Shires feet and legs were a useful adaptation to the farm work for which they were utilized.
With the industrial age the Shire became valued for its ability to pull heavy loads of goods from the docks and the breweries to the warehouses and shops in the city. In 1878 the English Cart Horse Society was formed and established a stud book in 1880. In 1884, the name Shire Horse Society was adapted. American export began in the mid 1800's, and The American Shire Horse Association was established in 1885; the Canadian Shire Association in 1888.


The Shire is the tallest breed of horse. This breed holds a place in the Guinness book of world records for the biggest horse; Sampson stood 21.2 �½ hands high when he was four years old in 1848, and weighed approximately 3,300 pounds. Most Shire stallions average 17.2 hands high and weigh upwards of one ton, with mares being about one hand smaller.
The breed standard states, "...a good Shire Stallion should stand from 17.0 hands upwards... without being overdone in condition. He should possess a masculine head and a good crest with sloping… shoulders running well into the back, which should be short and well coupled with the loins. The tail should be well set up… Both head and tail should be carried erect. The ribs should be well sprung, not flat sided, with good middle which generally denotes good constitution. A Stallion should have good feet and joints; the feet should be wide and big around the top of the coronets with sufficient length in the pasterns. When in motion, he should go with force using both knees and hocks, … he should go straight and true before and behind. A Mare should be on the quality side, long and deep with free action, of a feminine and matronly appearance, standing from 16 hands and upwards on short legs; …. A Gelding should be upstanding, thick, well-balanced… and should look like and be able to do a full day's work".

Horse Care and Feeding

Shire horses are big eaters and should have plenty of fresh hay and clean water available. They have feathered ankles, making good grooming and sanitary conditions essential to avoid pododermititis, or "scratches" (a bacterial infection of the ankle).
The Shire horses are large and need adequate room to move around. If kept in stalls, be sure the stalls are large and well bedded enough to be comfortable for the horse.

Horse Training and Activities

This horse is noted for a quiet and calm temperament. Its great strength and docile nature makes horse training for this breed suitable in a variety of disciplines beyond just horse riding. well suited for many disciplines. The Shire has been successful in driving, jumping, dressage, and trail riding; all due to its tractable nature and trainability.

Common Health Problems

Although relatively rare, the Shire is one of the breeds more prone to a condition known as PSSM or Polysaccharide storage myopathy, commonly referred to as "shivers". Symptoms of this condition, neurological in nature, include spasms in the hind limbs and difficulty in backing up. Often the symptoms can be managed with diet, but in extreme conditions the horse cannot raise its hind legs for hoof care and one or both the hind legs spasm when it begins moving. Extreme cases can be career ending, if not fatal.


Shire horses can be found on the internet. Many horses for sale ranging from approximately $2,500 to $20,000 USD depending on age, training, and bloodlines.


Judith Dutson, Storey's Illustrated Guide to 96 Horse Breeds of North America, Storey Publishing, LLC, 2005
Corinne Clark, A Pocket Guide to Horses and Ponies , Parragon Inc., 2007
American Shire Horse Association
Shire Horse Society, www.shire-horse.org/uk
2008 Feedstuffs Volume 80, No.26, June 30, 2008 Author: Joan Childs

Friday, October 14, 2011


By HubbellFarm

Once the chicks are hardy enough (3-4 weeks of age) they are transferred to portable pens which are moved each day for a fresh pasture experience. They are fed whole grains and a protein/mineral mix free choice along with access to daily fresh pasture. They are humanly butchered at about 8 weeks of age. One of the things we have noticed is that this meat is firm without being tough. This is as a result of the diet and exercise they receive every day. The fat is primarily located outside of the meat and is not marbleized in the meat as commercial poultry often is. They dress out on average about 5 pounds each. We usually butcher about once a month through the season.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Humanely raised chickens

This weekend, Dan is getting more humanely raised chickens ready for your table. I thought I would post the following chicken related video in honor of the chickens who are about to pass on.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken Pipian with Mexican Rice

Chicken Pipian with Mexican Rice

From Jair Cruz

Edible Grande Traverse

Serves 4


1 whole chicken, cut into pieces salt

½ teaspoon Mexican oregano

1 medium onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic

½ pound shelled pumpkin seeds

6 dried guajillo peppers, seeds removed

2 fresh tomatoes

¼ cup oil

Place chicken pieces in a pot and add water to just cover. Add salt, oregano, half of the onion and 3 cloves garlic, and simmer about 20–30 minutes, until chicken is cooked and tender. Turn off heat and skim off fat.

Roast pumpkin seeds and guajillo peppers together on top of stove until you start to smell them and the pumpkin seeds start to pop, being careful not to burn. Remove from heat.

Bring a pan of water to boil, then drop tomatoes in and cook them until the skins crack. Drain.

Put roasted pumpkin seeds and peppers into a blender with tomatoes and salt to taste. Blend until mixture makes a thick paste.

Heat oil in a deep pan on top of stove. Add remaining onion and sauté until it starts to brown. Add paste from blender and one cup of water. Add chicken pieces and simmer 15–20 minutes, until ingredients are heated through and the flavors have time to blend.


2 tablespoons oil

1 small onion, diced

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup rice


Heat oil in a saucepan; add onion, ground cumin and rice. Cook, stirring often, until rice begins to get a little clear-colored on the outside. Add enough water to cover rice and salt to taste. Cover with lid and simmer on low until rice is tender. Serve rice on the side with the hot chicken.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

'Fresh as it gets'

Sunday, June 28, 2009 - 1:00am
Eric Carlson

Jess Piskor delivered a bushel of greens directly from his garden near Northport to the newly opened Northport Farmers Market Friday morning, and was feeling on top of the world.

“This kale is as fresh as it gets,” said Piskor. “And this is the most meaningful work I’ve ever done,” the 2004 University of Michigan graduate added.

Until recently, Piskor had been working at a popular delicatessen in Ann Arbor where, as he puts it, he “got into food and quality produce.”

“Growing and selling quality produce to your neighbors is about as satisfying as it gets,” he said. “Plus, I’m hoping we can keep my grandfather’s 40-acre farm in the family.”

Most of the farm is leased to cherry farmers. But Piskor’s 1.5-acre garden is keeping him and several of his friends and Ann Arbor “business partners” busy this summer. Farmers markets throughout Leelanau County are also bringing a little cash their way.

The farmers market season in Leelanau County is now well under way, with four of the five operations run by the Leelanau Farmers Market Association opening last week.

New this season is the Northport market, which opened Friday. Conducted outside The Depot next to the Northport Marina, the farm market will be open every Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. through Sept. 18.

The farmers market in Suttons Bay has been open since May 16.

Megan Gregory is the newly-hired “market master” for the Suttons Bay, Leland and Glen Arbor markets, which are open on Saturdays, Thursdays and Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. respectively.

With a marketing degree from the Traverse City campus of Davenport University, Gregory said she’s trying out a few new ideas this year to increase attendance at farmers markets. On Saturday, for example, she invited a local musician to play guitar and sing at the Suttons Bay market for tips.

On July 16, the Leland Farmers Market will host a tour for Learngreatfoods.com, an Illinois-based organization specializing in “agri-culinary” tours. The event will include a visit to the fish market in Leland as well as a local winery.

“The farm markets have been busy so far,” Gregory said, “even though some of the crops appear to be a little bit behind this year.”

Spring crops such as rhubarb and asparagus were still in abundance at local farm markets last week. Strawberries had been delayed by unusually cool weather earlier this spring, however.

“We had a few strawberries Saturday morning at Suttons Bay, but they sold out quickly,” Gregory said. “More of them will be coming in soon, I’m sure.”

The “market master” in Northport is longtime resident George Anderson, while Reuben Chapman heads the Empire market. Gregory, Anderson and Chapman all work for the board of the Leelanau Farmers Market Association, a non-profit organization that came into existence nine years ago through another organization called the Leelanau Agricultural Alliance, with the help of the Michigan State University Extension.

Leelanau County MSU Extension director Rob Sirrine said he believes the farmers markets are off to a good start this year and have a bright future ahead.

“More people are interested in purchasing local food and supporting local farmers,” Sirrine said.

And “local” is what farm markets are all about. Rules promulgated for Leelanau Farmers Markets specify that “all products must be grown or produced locally” with “local” being defined as “within 60 miles of the Leelanau County Farmers Market that the vendor is selling at.”

Vendors pay fees for setting up a stand at farmer’s markets – as little as an introductory fee of $5 for one day, or as much as $250 for a space at all five farm markets for the entire season.

Farmer Karen Drake of Cherry Beach Orchards in Suttons Bay said the farm markets mean a lot to the bottom line for some local farmers.

“We do all five farmers markets,” Drake said, “and, so far, we haven’t seen as many customers as we’d like. We’re hoping more locals will stop by the markets this summer for some really great deals, some really fine products, and to help support local agriculture.”

This entry was submitted by - Eric Carlson

Monday, October 10, 2011

Swamp of Suffering

by Swamp of Suffering

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 7-11pm. The Swamp Of Suffering is Evernight Entertainment's latest Haunted Attraction - taking guest beyond the Asylum and into the treacherous swamp behind it. Guests will wind their way through dark swamp areas and through several shacks along the way....never knowing when they may run into some of the inhabitants. Located at 3123 S Airport Rd.; Traverse City, MI 49684. We're in the old Circuit City Building, near Home Depot. For more information visit the link or call (231) 360-5044.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall Activities


Unlike a federally designated national park, hunting is allowed in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. And what amazing hunting opportunity there is! Come October, the chalky aspen covers and old abandoned farms offer a magical backdrop for some of the finest upland grouse and woodcock hunting in the Midwest. November means a chance at seeing a buck of a lifetime slinking through the sand dunes and cedar swamps headed down to Lake Michigan to drink. South and North Manitou Islands offer a primitive, wilderness deer hunting experience not found anywhere else in the Lower 48.

Salmon Fishing

They strike like lightening, weigh as much as a cinder block, and pull like no fish you've ever tangled with before. For the angling adventure of a lifetime, book a big-tackle, offshore charter with friends or family. Or go-it-alone on the Platte River where salmon fishing in northern Michigan was born. Here, come September, the Chinook and Coho salmon can be found surging upstream by the hundreds, blackening the water with their sheer numbers. Keep your cool and hold on salmon offer one of the most challenging fights in fresh water.

By The Homestead

Leaf Peeping

Amidst the glorious colors of fall, you wind down back roads lined with golden fields. Stopping for fresh cider, maybe a Halloween pumpkin, a basket of freshly-picked apples at a farmer's roadside stand, or simply pausing at a scenic spot overlooking Glen Lake, Lake Michigan, or the fiery sands of the Sleeping Bear Dunes aglow in the evening sun. You feel the biting chill of the sea breeze coming off the big water, look up a see a wedge of geese winging south all that tells you winter will very soon be here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why would I want to purchase humanely raised meat?

By Wisegeek

With a growing awareness of where their food is coming from, many consumers are being incited to buy humanely raised meat and other animal products. Since humanely raised meat is more expensive than conventional meat, some people quite reasonably ask why they would want to purchase the more expensive product. There are a number of reasons to choose humane over traditional animal products, ranging from ethics to environmentalism. Educating yourself about humanely raised meat will help you to make a more informed decision at the grocery store.

Before delving into the reasons to choose humanely raised meat, it helps to take a quick look at the two basic styles of animal raising which prevail in many industrialized nations. The first is “traditional” farming, which is sometimes better known as “factory farming.” In a factory farming situation, animals often endure brutal, cramped conditions, and they are treated like commodities rather than individuals. Often abusive situations such as those found in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are not only bad for the animals; they are bad for the environment. Cramped conditions breed serious disease, and CAFOs are often unable to cope with the volume of animal waste generated, which can lead to serious pollution problems.

On a humane farm, the approach to animal raising is different. Typically, though not always, the animals are raised in more spacious conditions, with a focus on preventative care for the animals and the environment. On some humane farms, animals rotate through fields with other animal species and plants, in the hopes of creating a more healthy farm environment. The animals are allowed to mature at their own rate, and they are handled gently throughout their lifetimes and the slaughter process. Some organizations offer meat certifications such as the Free Farmed certification to farms which practice humane farming techniques.

One of the most obvious reasons to choose humanely raised meat is, of course, ethical. Many people who eat meat would prefer to eat meat which has been raised in pleasant conditions, because animals are sentient living organisms. Some animals, such as pigs, have also demonstrated some self-awareness, which makes the thought of existing in the miserable conditions of a CAFO very distasteful.

Another reason often cited is the desire to purchase locally raised meat. For people who are interested in meeting their meat producers, humanely raised meat is a conduit to meeting farmers and seeing the conditions on a farm first hand. Locally raised food also tends to be generally better for the environment, since it involves less food miles. It also benefits local economies, by keeping spending local.

Some people also believe that humanely raised meat has a better flavor. This may be due to more balanced conditions, which include a wide and varied diet along with the ability to play and exercise. Factory farmed meat tends to have a dull, uniform flavor, since the animals are fed very unhealthy diets and prevented from living ordinary lives. While it may be cliché to say that consumers can “taste the freedom,” they can taste the impact that an animal's diet has on its flesh.

Finally, humanely raised meat is usually better for the environment. Since humanely raised meat tends to be brought up on small farms, there is a focus on caring for the environment which CAFOs do not have. Because a much smaller number of animals is handled, the farmer can process manure properly, keep the land in good condition, and take the time to rotate animals and crops for healthy soil. A CAFO, on the other hand, cannot afford these measures, because thousands of animals are cramped into a small space, generating thousands of tons of waste products. These waste products end up in the air, the soil, and the water, leading to serious environmental problems.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fall color, events peaking

Originally posted.

For artist Kate Fiebing, sewing is second nature.

“I’ve always enjoyed sewing. I find it relaxing and creative,” she said.

Fiebing of Suttons Bay will be the featured artist in the eighth annual Fiber Festival being held in the Old Art Building Friday and Saturday, part of a deep lineup of weekend events signaling that fall is peaking in Leelanau County.

It promises to be a great time to live in or visit Leelanau County. Autumn color is also working toward a grand finale, and weekend temperatures are expected to bypass 60 degrees under sunny skies.

Art lovers should be in heaven attending the Fiber Festival and an annual Fall for Art tour of county galleries.

Contrary to popular opinion, the “fiber” in the festival does not refer to the kind you eat. Cloth, yard, string, and just about any variation on the elements are included in this unique art form.

Sponsored by the Leelanau Community Cultural Center, the Fiber Festival provides a stage for county and regional artists who work in the medium. Judy Livingston, the center’s director, said you will see pieces from a knitted scarf or sweater, to hand bags, slippers and jackets. “These items are all unique and quite different from each other. It is a fun show to put together,” she said.

Fiebing has a degree in engineering from Michigan State University. When she had children, Fiebing returned to sewing as a less costly measure for making new clothes and putting her own touches on patterns and shapes.

“I find sewing to be calming, I just love it. I actually enjoy making patterns, the novelty sewing allows for in your creations,” she said.

Fiebing enjoys her “work,” especially the creation of a crocodile costume made for a Suttons Bay school production of Peter Pan. “It was so much fun. The eyes lit up, the tail swished, it was a very fun costume to make and a bit of a challenge,” she said.

The items Fiebing creates as part of her business, Leelanau Designs, range from new clothing to redesigning an existing handbag design and adding a patch to it.

“My thing is to take something, a coat or slippers, and made it my own, make it a one-of-a-kind,” she said.

In addition to clothing and accessories, Fiebing makes fabric dolls and puppets. She has created puppets that were part of the Tiffany’s department store Christmas windows display for its Detroit store.

Fiebing will have coats, jackets, hats, gloves, bags and other items on display at the Fiber Festival which runs from 5-8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. She is one of 18 artist who will have fiber art items on exhibit. Part of the proceeds from the show will go to the Leelanau Community Cultural Center’s effort to raise awareness about art in the county.

Galleries and artists from around the county have teamed up for the fourth annual Fall for Art in Leelanau County. The “tour” of the county will take place Friday through Sunday with participating galleries and stores staying open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The event will conclude with a reception at 3 p.m. at the Homestead in Glen Arbor.

Each participating gallery will have a bright yellow “fall for art” sign displayed on the front its building. Participants may start at any gallery, where they can pick up a descriptive brochure about the event and the locations of each gallery. Art “treasure hunters” gather signatures at participating galleries. Brochures with signatures from each gallery are eligible for a prize drawing at the closing reception.

Organized by the Glen Arbor Art Association, this year’s event is chaired by John Huston of the Glen Arbor Artists’ Gallery.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to get out, see the fall colors and get to know some of the galleries in our county,” he said.

The Empire Heritage Day celebration will t ake place Saturday from 1-4 p.m. at the Empire Area Museum Complex on Saturday. The event will feature a classic and antique car and vehicle show:

demonstrations on old-time food preparation like making apple butter, maple sugar candy, sauerkraut, and other items such as shingles using turn of the century methods. Other activities on display include black smiths, wood working, recorded old phonograph and music box music and player piano demonstrations. Empire area has been celebrating Heritage Day for 36 years according to co-chairs Bob and Rita Quinn.

“The day marks the end of another great season of keeping our past alive,” Bob Quinn said.

The museum complex is located next to the village fire hall and includes the main building, a one-room school house, the 1911 Hose House, and the Billy Beeman barn.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Northern Michigan Welcomes New FoodCorps Service Member

By Daniel Marbury

The Michigan Land Use Institute is proud to announce that two of the first 50 FoodCorps [2] Service Members nationwide are hard at work right here in northwest Lower Michigan. Daniel Marbury and Kirsten Gerbatsch are helping a pilot group of schools here to purchase and serve healthy, locally grown food; build school garden programs; and connect education to nutrition, healthy eating, and a celebration of local farms. MLUI is the official service site for Daniel and Kirsten, who will be in our region for an entire year. As you’ll learn from their occasional blogs, they and MLUI have strong partner organizations in this nationwide pilot, including MSU Extension, SEEDS, and the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design. In their first blogs, Daniel and Kirsten talk about their responsibilities and share a bit about who they are. Please welcome them, and stay tuned for more of their reports on Good Food in our Schools!

Today, we hear from Daniel.

In a couple of days we’ll post Kirsten’s blog.

Welcome to Northern Michigan, and thank you for your inspiring work!

As the FoodCorps Service Member at the Michigan Land Use Institute, I am working with school administrations and food service staff to overcome barriers to serving more fresh and local food at Frankfort Elementary, Platte River Elementary, Interlochen Community School, Sutton’s Bay Elementary, Northport Public School, and Central Lake Elementary.

I will work with students, teachers, and parents to incorporate food and nutrition education into the learning experience. This will include everything from fun food tastings in the cafeteria to farm field trips, to school fundraisers of local farm products, and even a vegetable instrument orchestra or two! On a personal level, I feel that I have been blessed with a meaningful opportunity to devote myself to the cause of promoting environmental and human health by improving the quality of the food that nourishes the bodies and minds of the children who are the hope for our future. I will use every ounce of my creativity and all of my commitment to environmental balance and wellness in growing the dream of a healthy world through a new awareness of the seeds we sow and eat.

The program I’m a part of is already receiving national attention. My assignment here in Northern Michigan was recently featured [3] by Grist.

I am a southern boy by residence, growing up north of Atlanta, Georgia in a town called Alpharetta, but my parents Cathy and Robert are both Yankees from Pittsburgh. As the rock-loving geologist types they are, Mom and Dad raised me to always treasure beauty in nature. I am forever grateful to them for taking me to visit a number of National Parks around the country and, because of their influence I have come to consider the great American outdoors as much a home as any other place that I know. It is this nature-loving strand that has brought me to FoodCorps by way of a winding path.

I began my studies at the University of Alabama as a music major and in the course of study added a degree in political science, but I still don’t think I know as much about either of them as Bob Dylan. To make a long story short, I was not satisfied to watch the hours fly by practicing clarinet, piano, or bass alone in a closet of a room without the commitment or aspiration to become a professional performer. I made a friend who was interested in starting a drum circle, and weekend after weekend together we carried our drums around the quad and found great joy in making music with different people of all levels of skill and experience. The bond and instant communication facilitated by these impromptu musical experiences pushed me to ponder questions of effective leadership and organizational theory that could help collaborative organizations succeed. And that is how I added political science to my course of study despite my grade school distaste for politics and history.

Last year I served as an Americorps VISTA with the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development. I developed a search engine for community development grants to assist Alabama nonprofits, authored a few grant proposals, and helped develop Internet communications as a resource for our nonprofit partners. One of the highlights of my work experience was assisting in the festival planning, music, and graphic design for the Pepper Jelly Festival in the small town of Thomaston, Alabama. Working in rural Alabama, I was struck by the widening gap between our human communities, the land, and the means of production for the food that sustains us. Thomaston is surrounded by historic farmland and lies in the middle of an area in Alabama known as the Black Belt for it’s fertile soil, yet it lacks entrepreneurship and investment to generate a local food economy. The town is in the middle of a large rural area which is classified a USDA food desert, meaning it is a low-income census tract in which many residents live more than 10 miles from the nearest grocery store.

Some parts of Alabama are on the verge of a healthy, local food revolution, yet the state is surely lagging behind the innovation and progress that is taking off across the world and in America. In Michigan, I see an organized vanguard of innovators and supporters with an abundance of energy and new ideas that are building the model of a more secure and durable good food future. I am excited to learn from the pioneers and those engaged in best practices and I’m incredibly grateful to work under the guidance and support of Diane Conners who has been a champion for Farm to School efforts in Northwest Michigan for many years.

Daniel Marbury can be reached via email at daniel.marbury@foodcorps.org [4] or by calling 231-941-6584 X-30.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Leelanau Halloween Happenings

by Andrew McFarlane

One of the annual Halloween highlights (my kids are already getting excited for it) is the Empire Eagles' Field of Screams Haunted Hayride held Friday & Saturday the two weekends before Halloween (Oct 17 & 18 and 24 & 25) on M-72 just east of Gilbert Road.

Other Halloween events include:

•Haunted Lighthouse at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum on October 18 from noon - 4 PM. Visit grandtraverselighthouse.com for details!

•The AP Art Class of Suttons Bay High School is sponsoring a Haunted House at the Friendship Center in Suttons Bay on October 23-24 from 6-8PM and October 25 from 4-8PM. The cost for this event is $5 and it benefits the AP Art Class!

•Cedar's Halloween Haunted House on October 24,25,26 and Halloween night from 7-9 pm (at the south end of Nelson St - call 228-3426 for details). On Halloween, treats will be given out as well!

•Glen Arbor Trick or Treating for Children on Sunday (Oct 26) - Glen Lake Chamber

•There's a Children's Halloween Party at the Empire Town Hall on Halloween from 6-8 PM. If anyone's interested in volunteering the night of event or or to decorate the night before, please call Jan at 326-5439 with any questions.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stunning Fall Color and Unique Festivals Along the Sleeping Bear Dunes


BENZONIA, MI--(Marketwire - Aug 19, 2011) - This may be the time to visit the "Most Beautiful Place in America." Benzie County with over 30 miles of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the southern gateway to the acclaimed Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park just voted "the most beautiful place in America" by viewers of ABC's "Good Morning America." The Sleeping Bear Dunes edged out such better-known spots as the Grand Tetons, Sedona, Newport, Cape Cod, Aspen, Ashville and Hawaii's Lanikai Beach in the voting. Announced on the program August 17, the news came with cheers and thousands of tweets to the #PureMichigan twitter site. Many who have already discovered the profound beauty of Northern Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes along the Lake Michigan coast were not surprised by the win. Sleeping Bear Dunes, the only midwestern location to make the list, was nominated by Grand Rapids, Michigan resident Jim Madole, who said, "Here at Sleeping Bear I sit in awe and wonder at the perfection of Mother Nature."

"We live in amazing beauty year round and to finally be recognized on national TV is a thrill," said Mary Carroll, President of Benzie County Visitors Bureau. She elaborated, "Benzie County is known as the gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This area is filled with millions of trees, which makes it one of the most beautiful locations in the United States to enjoy during any season, but especially during the fall. The changing fall color within forests of oak, maple, cherry, chestnut, birch, hickory, ash, and beech trees is breathtaking."

The tapestry of colors of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and surrounding protected forests in Benzie County change to vivid fall colors on the roads that traverse the county. One of the most popular roads is M-22, which runs along the coast of Benzie County through the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas where wineries are plentiful, an easy day trip from Benzie County resorts, inns, cottages, and cabins.

The popular Food Network chef, Mario Batali, played a role in helping boost Sleeping Bear Dunes to the top. His presence in Northern Michigan this summer and his regular posts on social media sites such as Twitter and Foursquare have brought visibility to the area. Mario retweeted the "get out the vote" message last week to over 142,000 followers. He was interviewed on the August 17 ABC News segment about the beauty of the area by Good Morning America.

Benzie County is located 30 minutes west of Traverse City, Michigan and features quaint vacation towns and villages such as Frankfort, Elberta, Honor, Beulah, Benzonia, and Thompsonville, as well as the majestic Crystal Lake. Benzie County has spectacular beaches, miles of biking and walking paths, views of Lake Michigan, and great restaurants and shops. In addition to 30 miles of Lake Michigan coastline along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Benzie has 57 inland lakes, 22 miles for biking along the Betsie Valley Trail, and approximately 200 miles of rivers. Outdoor activities for vacationers and sports enthusiasts include fishing, golfing, biking, hiking, running, kayaking and canoeing in the spring, summer and fall months and skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in the winter. Benzie County is known as the "best place in Michigan for outdoor sports and recreation."