2008-01-03 / Business

Production, use of local foods to highlight farm conference

Increasing production and use of locally grown food products is the focus of the ninth annual Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference, set for Jan. 26 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Grayling High School, in Grayling.

The event will include educational sessions, a trade show and a keynote presentation by the president of a Montague local food market.

Participants will hear from keynote speaker Chris Bedford as he presents "The Local Food Revolution and How It Can Rebuild Michigan." Bedford cofounded Sweetwater Local Foods Market. He will discuss how Michigan's small farmers can play a role in regenerating the environment, the economy and contributing to human health.

Lunch will include a discussion sponsored by the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance about a potential organic identity for Michigan's organic crops.

Participants may select from breakout sessions on 19 topics. The morning sessions will address such topics as transferring a farm from one generation to the next, using passive solar greenhouses for season extension and winter harvesting, pasture raised and organic livestock production, and climate change.

Afternoon sessions include organic apple production, cellulosic ethanol, small-scale mushroom production, using cover crops with vegetable production, weed identification and farmer panel on the challenges and benefits of organic certification.

Speakers include Michigan State University (MSU) faculty members and extension educators and specialists, farmers and other entrepreneurs. The registration fee is $45 for the first person from a farm and $30 for each additional participant before Jan. 18. After that date, both fees increase by $15 and lunch cannot be guaranteed. The fee includes lunch (vegetarian option available) and any handouts.

To register, call the Antrim County Michigan State University Extension office at 231-533- 8818 or visit www.msue. msu.edu/antrim.

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