FSEP is hiring a part-time Executive Director position. In order to apply for the position, please submit resume, cover letter and 3 references to Board Chair, Ginny Trocchio at email@example.com by October 5, 2012. Click on the link Executive Director Job Announcement to view the position description.
Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP) seeks a part-time Finance Manager for the organization. The Finance Manager will be responsible for managing the day-to-day finances of the organization. The Finance Manager will be responsible for preparing monthly financial reports for the Board of Directors, paying monthly bills, managing all accounts payable/receivable, and preparing financial reports to comply with grant funding and other donors. Click on the link to view the position description FSEP Finance Manager Job Posting. Interested applicants, please submit a resume and cover letter to FSEP Board Chair, Ginny Trocchio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kim Bayer AnnArbor.com Community Contributor
The concept of CSAs (for Community Supported Agriculture) has so much potential to improve the health, environment, and economy of communities (everywhere!) that more and more people are taking advantage of this avenue for getting food directly from a farm nearby. The kinds of food available (year-round now, like vegetables, meat, frozen food, storage crops, or even just garlic!) and the models for membership have been diversifying as this concept matures.
An innovation in our neck of the woods that extends the CSA model is now Restaurant Supported Agriculture (RSA), currently being piloted by the Tilian Farm Development Center with eight food and restaurant businesses in town, from tiny Darcy’s Cart to the powerhouse Zingerman’s Deli and Roadhouse, and even Food Gatherers.
Dan Vernia, former chef de cuisine at The Raven’s Club, says that another other thing that’s different about the Tilian RSA is that a restaurant working with larger volumes has additional options because harvest “availability sheets are sent out from the farm at the beginning of each week… Unlike a traditional CSA, we can order as much or as little as needed, based on our expected sales volume and the supply from other farmers. This flexibility is important.”
Rodger Bowser, chef and managing partner at Zingerman’s Deli, says the RSA model appealed to him because “It allows Zingerman’s Deli to get into different farms that I couldn’t get into before. It got the grower to think about doing business differently, to expand their customer base.”
And it’s succeeding because “the farm has worked my purchases into their model. It forces the conversation of ‘well — what kind of stuff do you want?’ We talked about the parameters of what we could and couldn’t take. I’m not looking for bunched carrots or three pounds of zucchini — I’m looking for high volume greens.” Bowser says they need at least 80-90 pounds of about 10 different greens per week at the deli, year round.
Rachel Beyer is the Tilian Residency farm manager who has been driving the tractor and running the irrigation lines to be able to provide a weekly delivery of those fresh lettuces, pak chois, komatsunas and mustard greens to Zingerman’s, and the kale, broccoli and spinach for Food Gatherers. A recent grad of the MSU Student Organic Farming Program, the blonde and sweet-faced Beyer is the first farmer to set up and occupy the two-year Tilian Residency program, which is intended to be an ongoing mentored CSA business which will help support the Farm Incubator.
The Farm Incubator was Tilian’s first program. Set up two years ago (in partnership with the Food System Economic Partnership and Selma Cafe) on land owned by Ann Arbor Township, it currently houses five separate hands-in-the-dirt start-up farm businesses. This year, the Residency Program (which Tilian describes as analogous to a medical residency) was created to give a newly trained farmer the opportunity to run a CSA farm business with the guidance of farmer mentors on the Tilian board. Running this three-season CSA business will provide income for the residency farmer and annual capital for Tilian to support bringing new farmers into their new farm incubator program every year.
Rodger Bowser says “the real hands-on (of farming) is actually growing the business. The residency will do that without immediately having to go buy a farm after school.” Programs like the Tilian Incubator and residency are needed because the average age of the American farmer is now 57 years old, and according to the Huffington Post quoting Department of Agriculture statistics “for every one farmer and rancher under the age of 25, there are five who are 75 or older.” Perhaps most alarming is the long-term knowledge that is disappearing because real-life experience and training that used to be passed down generationally, says Rodger Bowser, “is not happening on the farm any more.”
Beyer says running the residency farm “is challenging for me. Because I ran this farm with just one other person, to do all that we’re doing to make the crop plan, grow and harvest the food, go to markets, and then send out the order of the available harvest on Sunday nights, get the order back, print up receipts and do the delivery — it’s hard to keep track of.”
Especially this year. She says “farming is really hard work and I would hope that people think deeply about what went into their food when they’re eating and shoppingl; it really takes a lot of effort to put good food on the table.”
Beyer observes, “When you’re farming on a small scale, things can be unpredictable. Any restaurant making this serious commitment has to be flexible as they buy down the food they’ve pre-purchased — for example, we don’t have lettuce right now. It does take a lot of money to grow food on a small scale on an organic farm. But our product will always have the highest quality and better taste. You have to choose what you value the most.”
Vernia says that for The Raven’s Club, the RSA with Tilian “allows our venue a sense of community support that the staff can feel proud of. Hopefully, this excitement will be passed on to our guests and enhance their dining experience.”
Bowser says he knew that his staff’s experience of cooking from scratch, and his confidence in Rachel Beyer’s skills as a farmer made him feel that the RSA wasn’t a big leap for the deli.
He says, “The best thing is that it gives them cash up front, and we didn’t take on much risk.” For community and food security to work, “we have to trust each other and love each other. I gave them two grand, but I knew I would be getting it back somehow.”
Bayshore Marathon Run for FSEP
Jennifer Fike, Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP) Executive Director put her passion for running and passion for local food together. She successfully ran the Bayshore marathon in Traverse City on May 26th and raised almost $2,000 for FSEP programs. If you still want to help out click here. Thanks to everyone for their support of the run and FSEP.
Eastern Washtenaw Agricultural Economic Development
FSEP in partnership with Growing Hope and Washtenaw Public Health presented on opportunities in Agricultural Economic Development to the Eastern Leaders Group. View the presentation and case statement here. As part of this effort to promote job growth, Washtenaw County is exploring the possibility of creating a shared use kitchen incubator. For more information and to take the survey, click here
Do you want healthy, local food served in school cafeterias? Do you want thriving small farms growing diverse food for our communities? Do you support helping the next generation of farmers? Jennifer Fike, Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP) Executive Director is putting her passion for running and passion for local food together. She is running the Bayshore Marathon on May 26 in Traverse City to raise $ in support FSEP’s programs. Yup, that’s 26.2 miles! How about helping us out by donating per mile? $1-$5 per mile would make racing so much easier! You can donate by clicking here
The Washtenaw Food Policy Council is taking root! The 15-seat council will be dedicated to supporting and making policy recommendations that create a diverse, coordinated, and comprehensive food system in Washtenaw County.
If you are interested in policy work, join the Washtenaw Food Policy Council and help transform our community. Get involved by contacting Michaelle Rehmann at email@example.com.
If you’re interested in applying to FoodCorps for 2012 – see this notice.
“Time is running out to apply to be a FoodCorps service member for 2012 – 2013. Last month we began our search for up to 100 emerging leaders: future public health professionals, future school gardeners and farmers, and future nutrition directors. We have received an exciting number of great questions and wonderful applications—keep them coming!
Are you considering applying but have questions or concerns about the application process? Join us for our second and final FoodCorps recruitment open call on Thursday, March 1st at 6:00 pm EST (4:00 pm CST / 3:00 pm MST / 2:00 pm PST). Team members from FoodCorps’ national office will be on the line to answer your questions.
Dial-in Number: (218) 936-4700
Access Code: 7904113#
Right now you—or someone you know—has the opportunity to help create a healthy future for a generation of children.
Applications are open through March 25th. For more information and to apply, click here.
Curt, Deb, Cecily and the FoodCorps team”
Please see below for information about a very exciting project in the works in eastern Washtenaw County to develop a shared used incubator kitchen!
If you or your business, organization, school, etc is a prospective kitchen user, please take our survey, available at http://tinyurl.com/8294kbm
“On behalf of the Washtenaw County Board of County Commissioners, the Office of Community and Economic Development is exploring developing a food system workforce development program and commercial kitchen incubator with the expressed desire to:
Improve the economic climate in the county by fostering agri-business economic development and creating accessible opportunities for food-based entrepreneurs;
Provide training and jobs for chronically unemployed workers in a low-skill, meaningful job in the growing agribusiness and food service sector, with opportunities to advance into other full-time employment opportunities; and
Improve health and nutrition outcomes for local low-income residents through the production of and access to local food.
To help us identify needs and opportunities for a commercial kitchen and kitchen incubator facility, we ask that you take a few minutes to respond to this CONFIDENTIAL survey. You will also be able to receive information as we move forward with this project by supplying your contact information.
Thank you for your help; we look forward to hearing from you.”
Mary Jo Callan, Director
Office of Community & Economic Development
For more information on this project, please contact Tony VanDerworp, project manager at firstname.lastname@example.org