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North Farm holds short courses

MARQUETTE — Extension short courses are scheduled at the North Farm to support Upper Peninsula citizens’ use of season extension technologies to produce food both for themselves and for the local markets.

The primary goal of The North Farm, a collaborative operation supported by Michigan State University Extension and Michigan State University AgBioResearch located in Chatham is to support the growth of new farmers producing nutrient-rich food for Upper Peninsula markets.

The North Farm is hosting a series of MSU Extension short courses starting in May on topics designed for market gardeners, small farms, and skill-seekers interested in diversified vegetable production. These short courses are an in-depth exploration of farming fundamentals and best practices for diversified vegetable growers. This year’s short courses will allow participants to get not only depth, but also breadth of knowledge on soil health, perennial fruit crops like raspberries and strawberries, growing small grains organically, and the role insects play on the farm, said Collin Thompson, MSU Extension Educator and Farm Manager.

Each five-hour learning session has an emphasis on hands-on activities so participants can practice what they learn, and includes the cost of materials for a project

“We want everyone to leave with something practical that they can use on their own farm when they get home,” said Abbey Palmer, Education Coordinator.

All workshops will be held on-site starting at 1 p.m. EST and will include a combination of experiential and classroom-based learning. The first course is Soil Health, held today, featuring topics like how to build healthy soil, common soil amendments, and how to interpret soil tests. The hands-on portion of the course will include taking soil samples.

These courses are in their third year. The instructor roster includes MSU Extension educators from around the state, as well as experts who live and farm in the U.P. Short courses qualify for education hours through the MSU Extension Master Gardener program and Soil Health qualifies for MAEAP Phase 1 Credit. Residents of Menominee County can qualify for a full scholarship to the program through the E.W. and Dorothy Granskog Memorial Fund; apply at http://mmcommunityfoundation.org/index.php/e-w-and-dorothy-granskog-memorial-fund

Registration is required for these events and can be accessed at http://www.msunorthfarm.org/short-courses.html Questions? Contact Abbey Palmer at palmerab@msu.edu or 906-439-5058.

The courses:

≤ Soil Health, 1-6 p.m. Sunday, May 21. Everything you do as a farmer or a gardener is linked to soil. Learn about the physical, biological, and chemical aspects of soil as well as practical soil-building techniques in this get-your-hands-dirty survey of soil health with experts from MAEAP and MSU.

≤ Perennial Fruit Crops, 1-6 p.m. Sunday, June 4. From familiar raspberries to “novel” types like goji berries, perennial fruits are gaining popularity with market gardeners and farmers alike. Find out about variety selection, establishment, and cultural practices — including growing in high tunnels — for growing berries in a northern climate with MSU educators on perennial fruit crops.

≤ Organic Small Grains, 1-6 p.m. Sunday, July 9. The North Farm is conducting research trials in organic small grain production to identify challenges and opportunities in the Upper Peninsula. Come see the research plots, talk with researchers and growers, and discuss some of the realities of growing organic grains in northern climates. Topics will include plot establishment, weed management, pest and disease challenges, and variety selection.

≤ Insects on the Farm, 1-6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13. Insects are important players on the farm — though often thought of as pests and parasites, insects are active in soil health, as pollinators, and even as pest control. Understanding insects in the context of your whole farm ecosystem will help you make informed decisions. Learn best practices from MSU educators on integrated pest management, native pollinators, and bees.

Herbal first aid workshop offered

MARQUETTE — Nutritionist and clinical herbalist practitioner, Kristen McPhee of Kristen McPhee Nutrition and Herbs, is partnering with Transition Marquette to offer a free community workshop on wilderness herbal first aid.

The workshop will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Peter White Public Library Community Room.

Participants will learn both specific and practical information on the most common medicinal herbs used in outdoor survival. Kristen will also introduce the art of medicine making by demonstrating the steps of making herbal tinctures.

In addition, participants will learn how to best prepare themselves for possible exposure to ticks infected with Lyme disease.

For more information, contact Kristen: kristen@kristenmcphee.com.

Swap, bazaar held on Saturday

TRENARY — Great Northern Poultry and Livestock Connection will have its first Swap/Bazaar of the 2017 season.

It will be at Holmquist Feed Mill in Trenary from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

GNPLC members are free, and bon-members are charged $5 to sell. Poultry will be tested there will be a fee for this.

Membership is $15 per year/per family.

Free admission to the public and the event will take place rain or shine. All dogs must be on leash

A silent auction will run from 10 a.m. until noon. Donations for the auction are accepted and appreciated. A 50/50 raffle and concessions are available and there also will be a bake goods fundraiser.

Contact Eileen for information at 225-9920 or Connie at 346-9506.