Tag Archives: joanne davidhizar

Michigan Fresh has even more to offer

In a March 27 Spotlight, I mentioned how our Michigan State University Extension Michigan Fresh program educates on fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamentals as well as food safety, food storage, food preservation and gardening. In addition to this long list of important subjects, the Michigan Fresh work team is also busy on many other projects.

Extension educator Eileen Haraminac took over the coordination of the Michigan Fresh team upon Kathe Hale’s retirement.

Extension educator Joyce McGarry is busy heading up new fact sheet development. The team consists of Mary Dunckel, Michelle Jarvie, Ronald E. Kinnunen, Amanda Knox, Laurie Messing, Jeannie Nichols, Jeannine Schweihofer and Rob Weber. Team members arecompiling information on meats: pork, lamb, poultry, beef and fish. In the future, they will compile information for fact sheets on dairy products. Michigan Fresh fact sheets have been available at many of the farmers markets throughout the state as well as online. The fact sheets are also available in Arabic and Spanish. Find them on the Michigan Fresh website: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/mi_fresh

Other future fact sheets will focus on Michigan chestnuts (Erin Lizotte, Extension educator in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute) and growing hops (Greening Michigan Institute Extension educator Rob Sirrine).

Extension program instructor Stephanie Bruno heads up the team that’s developing recipe cards. The team consists of Jennifer Berkey, Becky Henne and Connie Kurple. These new recipe cards will be distributed at several farmers markets to encourage consumers to purchase Michigan-grown food to use as simple ingredients.

 Kristine Hahn and Eileen Haraminac as well as Sean Corp and other MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications staff are collaborating with the Eastern Market Corporation to promote a new product ‒ Michigan Fresh Frozen fruits and vegetables. The group is working on recipe cards to be distributed at Detroit Eastern Market and through the Peaches & Greens mobile produce trucks. The cards will promote both the Michigan Fresh program and the new Eastern Market Corporation Michigan Fresh Frozen products.

Eileen said, “We want to encourage people to choose nutrient-packed frozen fruits and vegetables when fresh are unavailable. Fruits and vegetables chosen for freezing are processed at their peak ripeness ‒ time when, as a general rule, they are most nutrient packed.

Extension associate program leader Becky Henne heads up the social media team. Team members are busy working to build a smartphone app and to develop additional videos. They hope to have the app ready to roll out for the 2015 season. This group is working with Dr. Dru Montri, executive director of Michigan Farmers Market Association; Colleen Matts, farm to institution outreach specialist with the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems; and Dr. Norm Lownds, curator of the 4-H Children’s Garden. Additional team members from both the Health and Nutrition Institute and the Greening Michigan Institute include Julie Darnton, Joanne Davidhizar, Dawn Earnesty, Kristine Hahn, Sheilah Hebert, Maggie Kantola and Kendra Wills.

Dr. Cheryl Peters, Maggie Kantola and Kendra Wills have been working with the Michigan Fresh team to develop a common evaluation tool for Michigan Fresh cooking demonstrations offered at the Detroit Eastern Market and the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. These cooking demonstrations benefit the promotion of the Michigan Fresh fact sheets and videos. The free, public demonstrations are designed to inspire people to purchase and consume more Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables. The evaluation tool will gather information from cooking demonstration observers. Recipes used in the cooking demonstrations come from the Michigan Fresh fact sheets and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

With coordination from Extension educator Terry McLean, MSU Extension will staff a kiosk at the Flint Farmers Market this spring.

Michigan Fresh is a great collaboration not only between our own institutes but between local organizations and farmers markets as well.

If you are interested in promoting the Michigan Fresh campaign materials at your community farmers market, please contact Eileen Haraminac (haramin2@anr.msu.edu) for more information.

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Filed under Food

Making It in Michigan conference assists food and agricultural entrepreneurs, exhibits products

The sixth annual Making It in Michigan conference and Premier Specialty Food Marketplace Trade Show will take place Nov. 12 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lansing Center in downtown Lansing. This year’s conference theme is “Celebrate Your Business – Accelerate Your Achievement at Every Stage of Your Company.”

The Michigan State University Product Center Food-Ag-Bio hosts the conference, and this year the center celebrates its 10th birthday. The conference as well as the center assists the state’s entrepreneurs, producers, buyers and processors in the food and agricultural businesses in achieving success. The MSU Product Center was established with funds from the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station (now AgBioResearch) and MSU Extension to improve economic opportunities in the Michigan agriculture, food and natural resource sectors. Project GREEEN also provides funding. Chris Peterson, Nowlin Chair for Consumer-Responsive Agriculture in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at MSU, is the center’s director.

At morning educational sessions, conference attendees will learn to refine and grow their businesses. Topics covered will include focusing on the product in the package, growing your specialty food business further, marketing your food product and keeping regulatory requirements in check.

Tom McIntyre, vice president of communications for Domino’s Pizza, will deliver the keynote address.

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to exhibit their Michigan-made food and agricultural products at the Premier Specialty Food Marketplace Trade Show, which will feature more than 150 new and existing businesses showingcasing their products. During the morning, the marketplace trade show is open exclusively to buyers and store owners, distributors, brokers and many others looking for new products to use or sell. In the afternoon, the marketplace trade show is open to the public at no charge.

Product Center team members will be on hand at the conference to assist and interact with participants.

One company whose owner is grateful to the Product Center is RNS Packaging, winner of the Michigan Business and Professional Association Award for being the Elite Sustainable Small Business in Michigan for 2013. The company manufactures premium nontoxic packaging while employing and retraining returning veterans. Founder Rich Daniels credits the Product Center with guiding the company’s mission and creating valuable relationships with dozens of business leaders. The company also established new sales outlets through participation in the Making It in Michigan conference and marketplace trade show.

Extension educator Joanne Davidhizar is Product Center Innovation Counselor of the Year. Joanne’s work focuses on product and business development in specialty crops. Read more about Joanne’s work here.

It’s not too late to register for the conference. Conference registration includes breakfast, lunch, educational sessions, digital copies of all presentations and reference materials, and admission to the marketplace trade show. Early registration cost is $79. After Nov. 1, the cost goes up to $99 and vendor registration is $185. Register at http://productcenter.msu.edu/miim/registration

Please promote this conference in your communities.

Read more about the conference here: http://www.sharpmkt.com/

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Filed under Conferences

ANR Tech Services gets kudos for helping at the local level

I received an email last week from Joanne Davidhizar, Extension educator in the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute, that really made my day. Joanne sent her note on behalf of her colleagues in the MSUE Berrien County Office. She took the opportunity to sing praises for the work of the ANR Tech Services team in helping to convert their entire office over to be part of the ANR IT network. Previously the office had been served by Berrien County with IT support, and through the new MoA we have with Berrien County, it made more sense to switch over to the MSU system. Brian Hoort, acting as point person for ANR Tech Services, helped by first determining the services and functionality needed in the office. He then engaged colleagues Suporn Teng and Mike Walters in developing a plan, and then helped the Berrien County staff to purchase the right equipment and get it set up with the ANR system. Brian and the team helped with the conversion to the new network arrangement and continued to provide support through the Help Desk.

Joanne reports that they’ve been operating in the new system for seven months and “couldn’t be happier. At every opportunity, I urge educators from other counties to consider setting up as Berrien MSUE has done starting with a conversation with ANR Tech.”

Some additional comments from Deb Barrett help to explain the functionality they’ve achieved: “Webinar access is a piece of cake and I rarely have trouble with accessibility. Our previous system was so blocked that it prevented staff and our clientele from accessing and utilizing many online tools and resources that we can now easily access – thank you!

“The scanner, faxing and file share capabilities have been easy to use and work well. I appreciate and am relieved to know that files are backed up at MSU. The leap to wireless has allowed me to be more mobile and work from various locations with colleagues across the state while still accessing some of the information that I need. Now that I have had the opportunity to use SharePoint regularly, I appreciate its purpose and have found it quite handy for working with work group documents where our work group members stretch from corner to corner of the state, including the U.P.”

Those are the kinds of testimonials we like to hear! Thanks to Joanne, Deb and their colleagues for sharing their thoughts, and thanks especially to Brian and his colleagues in ANR Tech Services for making the system work. Remember to call upon them through the Help Desk or by calling 517-355-3776 if you need tech support.

Erica Ciupak, director of ANR Tech Services, joined me on the biweekly MSUE Update webinar this Monday, Sept. 17, with information on hardware purchases and service agreements. She also mentioned how to access support from her staff. You may want to review that portion of the webinar if you weren’t able to log in to the live session.

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Filed under Technology

Got wine? You should have been at this conference!

Nearly 90 people tasted some knowledge during the 2009 Michigan Winery Conference, Feb. 17-19 in Benton Harbor. Don’t expect to see any of them on billboards with purple stains on their upper lips – that marketing trick has already been used by one of Michigan’s other agricultural products.

Winery development and operations experts from across the country joined forces with local MSU Extension educators to teach attendees about legal, regulatory and financial issues. They even touched on the equipment and marketing strategies that are essential in starting a winery.

The committee that put the event together—Tom Zabadal, Diane Dings, Diane Miner, Joanne Davidhizar, Millicent Huminsky, Karl Kincade, Allen Zencka, Mike de Schaaf, Mark Thomas and William Harrison III—gathered more than $30,000 in sponsorships from businesses and agencies interested in further developing the Michigan winery industry. And it sounds like they hit the right people! A followup survey painted a picture of an audience that is serious about their winery prospects. More than 50 percent intend to start a new winery, and 85 percent feel they are better prepared to address the challenges associated with starting a winery.

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Filed under Agriculture, Conferences, Economic development, Farming, Food, Resources, Uncategorized