Partner Highlight: Neighborhood Food Solutions and SUPPORT Helping Black Ex-Felons for Ag Business Development
MFAI’s new Southern Wisconsin Food Systems (SWFS) Program seeks to bridge the urban-rural divide by strengthening connections between farmers, business owners, and educators. This program engages formerly incarcerated individuals in urban agriculture to create an economic opportunity for themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods. The funds will go towards new equipment for the participants, educational material, seeds/plants, transportation needs and events for the participants. Visit the GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/helping-black-exfelons-for-ag-business-development?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer
Coming Soon! Annual Seed Swap is ON this Year! April 24th @ the Brown Barn
Back by popular demand, our FREE seed swap event will be held in 2021 on April 24th, 9:00am-noon.
Incentivizing Planting Cover Crops
Two years ago, MFAI surveyed Wisconsin farmers about the merit of creating a program that would discount a farmer’s crop insurance premium by $5/acre for acres planted into cover crops, and the message was clear. Two-thirds of farmers who hadn’t planted cover crops said such a program would incentivize them to do so, and two thirds of those who’d previously planted cover crops said that this kind of program would incentivize them to plant cover crops more frequently or on more acreage.
Uplands Watershed Group Widens Its Boundaries
Iowa County’s Uplands Producer-Led Watershed Group decided at its March 30 meeting to expand its boundaries to the west to encompass Otter Creek Watershed.
April 17 Workshop: Whole Garden & Farm Planning
REGISTER HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/whole-garden-farm-planning-making-the-most-of-your-space-tickets-131349025471.
Saturday, April 17, 2021
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
NOW AVAILABLE – Revised Federal Program Guidebook on Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches, and Communities
Every 4-5 years, congress makes revisions to the Farm Bill which impacts the funding available for USDA grant and loan programs. The bill also influences additional services provided by USDA agencies (for example, the National Resource Conservation Service). It can be challenging to stay up to date with the changes, but organizations like Michael Fields […]
Margaret Krome: Agricultural proposals can bring bipartisanship to state budget
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers released his budget last week, including considerable important agricultural investments such as local and direct markets and institutional food, local meat processing, conservation, and watershed groups.
Wisconsin Women in Conservation
With a long-standing commitment to conservation and land stewardship, Wisconsin women landowners and farmers share a love for the land that binds them together. A new project “Wisconsin Women in Conservation”(WWIC), is launching this year! If you are a Wisconsin woman committed to conservation and curious to learn more from other women in the state, this project is for YOU!
“I’m Quitting My Job”
The statement strung together by the four words, “I’m quitting my job,” changed a man’s life trajectory from an east coast cardiologist to a rural Wisconsin farmer. A rainy November morning gives David Zimrin a break from his cows and time for a phone chat. I am excited to hear about his transition from medicine […]
Ecology alert: Feds remove protections for gray wolf by delisting from the Endangered Species list.
Gray wolf populations have rebounded considerably throughout the United States after being protected from trapping, hunting, and poisoning by being listed on the federal Endangered Species list for more than 45 years. Wolves were hunted nearly to extinction in Wisconsin and the rest of the U.S. throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but populations are […]
Wisconsin Women Championing Conservation
Michael Fields is excited to announce a new project to help women farmers and landowners engage robustly in conservation management of their land. The Natural Resources Conservation Service recently awarded the Institute and our partners a 3-year contract to work with cohorts of women farmers and landowners in four regions of Wisconsin. Led by MFAI’s […]
No-Tilling Organic Soybeans with Spring-Interseeded Cereal Rye
More and more growers are experimenting with no-tilling organic soybeans. New research shows interseeding cereal rye in spring can improve weed suppression, but timing, row spacing and good stand establishment play a critical role. By Julia Gerlach October, 2020 IN THE FACE of marketplace pressures and mounting instances of herbicide-resistant weeds, a growing cadre of growers are […]
Support MFAI with Amazon Smile
During the COVID pandemic many of us are doing our shopping online. If you use Amazon, please consider using Amazon Smile, where you can support Michael Fields with every purchase. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your purchases, there are no fees or extra costs. MFAI relies on contributions from individuals like you. […]
Why MFAI Loves Small Grains – a Short Video
The website for southwest Wisconsin’s Uplands Watershed Group, for which MFAI serves as the fiscal agent and coordinator, recently featured a new video about small grains such as barley, oats, wheat, and rye. No surprise that MFAI would make it a priority for our talented staffer, Donale Richards, to film and produce it. For over […]
MFAI to Start KernzaⓇ Research
MFAI is the recipient of a $250,000 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems (SAS) program for perennial crop development efforts (see USDA’s announcement here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDANIFA/bulletins/291fdfc). MFAI was a member of a diverse coalition of more than 15 institutions, including universities, NGOs, farmers, bakers, and governmental agencies throughout the […]
MFAI’s Stance on Racial Justice
The staff and board of Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI) strongly condemn the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other historic acts of violence, death and racism that have oppressed and held our Black and all communities of color in physical, emotional and spiritual bondage. MFAI stands in solidarity and […]
Interseeding Winter Rye with Soybeans for Weed Suppression
Organic soybean producers in the Midwest have developed weed management programs that rely on tillage-intensive measures that include stale seedbedding, tine weeding, rotary hoeing, and inter-row cultivating. While these measures are often effective, there is much interest in decreasing soil disturbance and tillage in order to conserve soil structure and organic matter, and to obtain […]
Carbon + Nitrogen + Video Conference = Excellent Watershed Presentation on Composting
Two weeks ago, the Uplands Watershed Group met – by video conference, of course. Among other topics, we learned a lot about composting, from basics to refinements. Thanks to Iowa County Agricultural Extension agent Gene Schriefer and several farmers with extensive experience in composting for educating us. Here is Gene’s presentation.
GULFS Summer Programming
This Summer, our GULFS Program partnered with the Mellowhood Foundation through a joint grant through the city of Madison to pilot three new lessons with their youth to help them start their own hot pickle business. We invited a local teacher and chef in the South Madison community to teach the youth how to pickle […]
The Institute’s Big Brown Barn
The impulse behind the institute began in Europe — Germany, in fact — with Anthroposophy, the ideas of Rudolf Stiener (1861 – 1925) and the practice of biodynamic agriculture. Christopher and Martina Mann, the founders of the institute, often admired the architecture of old Wisconsin barns while driving through the countryside. One day Christopher found […]
Remembering Christopher Mann
For those of you who knew Christopher Mann you will understand when I tell you I am writing this Director’s blog with sadness in my heart following his passing last week. It was Christopher Mann along with his wife Martina and Ruth Zinniker who had the vision and drive to start Michael Fields Agriculture Institute […]
Welcome MFAI’s newest Grants Advising Team Member
The Institute is excited to announce that Martin Bailkey, PhD, joins Kitt Healy as part of our Grants Advising team. MFAI offers a number of free services to help farmers and those working with farmers in the Midwest identify grant and loan programs that might be useful to them and successfully apply. Our Grants Advisers […]
Support MFAI through Buying Programs
Shop online at AmazonSmile and/or Giving Assistant this holiday season and you can easily support Michael Fields Agricultural Institute when you make a purchase!
Where are they now?
Judith M’Hone, a Garden Apprentice in the 2016 growing season at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, originally from Botswana, is now the Lead Farm Educator at City Growers, a nonprofit in New York, NY. A large part of Judith’s job is educating New York City youth about food systems and environmental awareness. She teaches youth about where […]
Growing Urban Leaders in Food Systems (GULFS)
OVERVIEW GULFS is a dynamic, interactive, and engaging youth-centered curriculum developing youth leaders in food systems change. Focused in Milwaukee and Madison, we aim for youth to learn constructive ways to create tangible change and support their families’ and communities’ well-being through a food systems lens. The curriculum is written for teachers to use both […]