Blog Archive

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FREE Introduction to Permaculture Training Call w/ Larry Korn and Vladislav Davidzon

[For those of you who missed the powerful call last weekend, we're
doing it again!]

Hello friends,

I want to invite you to a FREE conference call next Saturday with
renowned soil biologist and permaculture instructor Larry Korn
( and myself. We're going to be giving a talk
on the power of permaculture design, our trainings and spending
much time answering questions (so come prepared to ask them!)

If you're thinking about joining us for one of our upcoming
trainings, this is a great opportunity to engage with the program
co-facilitators and to learn the basics about permaculture and
our trainings.

When: Wednesday, June 8th @ 6PM Pacific
Where: Conference call
Cost: FREE [Space is limited - please sign up early]
Sign up to get access to the call and recording of the call:

Larry Korn is an educator, consultant, editor and author in the
fields of permaculture, natural farming, sustainable landscaping
and local food production. Larry is the primary instructor for
Common Circle Education Oregon Permaculture Design and Regenerative
Leadership Trainings.

After completing his BA degree in Asian Studies at University of
California Berkeley, Larry traveled to Japan to see first hand
what life was like in Asia. He lived and worked on communes and
traditional farms in the Japanese countryside. Among other rural
farms, Larry spent several years with Masanobu Fukuoka, a farmer
and philosopher, on Shikoku Island. Mr. Fukuoka developed a
special no-till way of farming to demonstrate the practical value
of his spiritual principles. Larry returned to the United States
and helped translate and edit Mr. Fukuoka's book, The One-Straw
Revolution, which was published by Rodale Press in 1978.

Vladislav Davidzon is a social entrepreneur with well over a decade
of experience launching innovative social change brands challenging
the very boundaries of sustainable design and permaculture. Having
studied with some of the world's most renowned instructors,
including Bill Mollison, Marshall Rosenberg, Starhawk and Joanna
Macy, Vladislav integrates a diverse range of incredible teachings
into his work designing and facilitating the Common Circle
Education trainings.

When: Wednesday, June 8th @ 6PM Pacific
Where: Conference call
Cost: FREE [Space is limited - please sign up early]
Sign up to get access to the call and recording of the call:

We hope you will be able to join us for this call!

Much gratitude,

Vladislav Davidzon, Founder/CEO

Common Circle Education
1-800-376-3775 //
14525 SW Millikan Way, Suite 17760, Beaverton, OR 97005
Love us on Facebook:

Sustainability in Motion Bicycle Tour to Organic Farms and Ecovillages

Hello ,

How would you like to spend a week riding your bike to organic
farms, learning about permaculture, community, and sustainable food
production and participating in incredible service projects ?

We invite you to join our annual Sustainability in Motion Cycling
Tour in Oregon. More info @

[Sign up before June 8th and bring a friend FREE!]

Whether because of the intensive sustainability education or
because they discovered their passion and ability for biking,
numerous previous participants call their Sustainability in Motion
experience one of the most profound, life-altering experiences
of their entire lives.

"I made some of my best friends on this course. The hosts provide
such an enriching vision of the world and it's such a relief to
be on a course with people you can really connect with off the bat"
- David B, 2005/2006 participant

Intentionally designed for beginner and intermediate cyclists, this
experiential sustainability program is often the first cycle tour
for many of our participants. The stunning places you will see on
this program and the extraordinary people you will meet will
challenge and inspire you.

Throughout this week-long program you will take part in a wide range
of educational hands-on activities. You'll see family organic
farms, learning how your food is grown, what it means for
something to be organic, and why it's absolutely critical
to support local organic farmers. You will also cycle to model eco-
villages and intentional communities where you will learn all about
the challenges and gifts of choosing to live in community. Along
the way, we will make stops at green businesses and cooperatives,
demonstrating the power of community economics.

Read more information:
[Sign up before June 8th and bring a friend FREE!]

Common Circle Education is the nation's ecological design and
sustainable living school with courses in Oregon, Hawaii and
California; our instructors are some of the most well-known
leaders in sustainability, organics and permaculture design.

We hope you will be able to join us for this incredible,
life-changing experiential course!

Much gratitude,

Vladislav for Common Circle Education

Common Circle Education
phone: 1-800-376-3775
mail: 14525 SW Millikan Way, Suite 17760, Beaverton, OR 97005
Like us on Facebook:

Regenerative Leadership, Sustainability and Permaculture Certification

Hello friends,

Gain cutting-edge skills in nature-inspired sustainable design
that's applicable virtually anywhere design is used -- from green
businesses to your own back yard. Visit ecovillages, organic
farms, the nation's first biofuel station (ever seen a gas station
with solar panels and a green roof selling kombucha? ;), while
spending two weeks with some of the most inspiring people around!

Course: Suburban Permaculture Design & Leadership Certificate
Dates: July 9 - 24th
Location: Eugene, Oregon - Organic meals and lodging included!

Join an unforgettable program in leadership, permaculture and
sustainable design in Oregon with the world's most renowned
instructors and change your life, your community and your
planet. Not only do Common Circle Education courses offer the
most complete curriculum of any similar program, but the people
who come to the programs make this the most powerful training
offered anywhere.

-- Sign up before June 8th and bring a friend FREE! --
-- Payment plans as low as $200/month available! --

-- More info @ --

During the workshop, we will talk about:

* Smart nature-inspired design principles
* Rainwater catchment and storage
* Greywater - smart water re-use with plant filters
* Food forests & garden design for food abundance
* Eco-psychology and Regenerative Leadership
* Intentional community design and dynamics
* Bio-remediation and toxic waste cleanup
* Natural building design - cob, strawbale and more
* Soil biology and regeneration
* Sustainable transportation and fuels
* Green business and sustainable economics
* Natural patterns and principles
* Everything you ever wanted to know about plants and soil!

"My experience in the course was invaluable. I find myself with a
new permaculture lens that I can put on at will, and see the world
around me in a way that I feel leads to making more conscious
decisions and living better in harmony with the earth."
- Deborah F., Course Graduate

This course will combine critical design skills with leadership,
nature connection, and most importantly an urban focus, building
and exceeding upon the internationally-recognized Permaculture
Design Certification curriculum. Our programs offer by far the
most complete curriculum of any similar course -- with a huge
focus on leadership, personal growth and community design as well
as green business.

You'll learn how to create sustainable, thriving human systems,
from green houses and organic gardens, to local micro-economies
and communities, using sustainable design principles that are
applicable to every human system, from businesses, communities,
and cities to personal relationships.

Because of our unique focus on Urban and Suburban solutions,
our courses are radically different from most other programs,
teaching permaculture as a design science rooted in nature.
With most of the world's population in cities, we must
meet people where they live with real sustainable solutions.

-- Sign up before June 8th and bring a friend FREE! --
-- Payment plans as low as $200/month available! --

-- More info @ --

Starting by learning the lessons from nature with some of the
world's most renowned organic farming experts, we will then look
at how to apply what we learned from the soil and the water to
building sustainable, lasting institutions.

Common Circle Education is the nation's ecological design and
sustainable living school with courses in Oregon, Hawaii and
California; our instructors are some of the most well-known
leaders in sustainability, organics and permaculture design.

We hope you will be able to join us for this incredible,
life-changing experiential course!

Much gratitude,

Vladislav Davidzon, Founder/CEO

Common Circle Education
phone: 1-800-376-3775
mail: 14525 SW Millikan Way, Suite 17760, Beaverton, OR 97005
Like us on Facebook:

Friday, May 27, 2011

FW: school aid budget language on privatization


Please see the email below from Jean Doss, Governmental Affairs Consultant, on the School Aid portion of the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year Budget, which was completed yesterday. Apologies for cross posting.


Colleen Matts

Farm to Institution Specialist

CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems

Michigan State University

303 Natural Resources Building

East Lansing, MI 48824-1222



From: Jean Doss []
Sent: Friday, May 27, 2011 9:39 AM
Subject: RE: school aid budget language on privatization



May 26, 2011


2011-2012 Fiscal Year Budget Completed Today


School Aid portion includes one-time incentive grants linked to multiple factors, including competitive bidding of non-instructional services such as food services


Today the Legislature completed their work on the FY 2011-2012 Budget prior to the Governor’s deadline of May 31.  The Legislature has not finished the budget process this early in 30 years.


Specifically, this morning the House held a second conference committee process rolling up all the conference committee reports from last week into two omnibus budget bills, House Bill 4526 covering state departments and House Bill 4325 covering school aid, community colleges and higher education.  The House and Senate quickly voted (mostly along party lines) to concur with the two bills.  After completing the enrolling process, the two omnibus budget bills will be sent to Governor Snyder who has the power to veto items in the budgets before adding his signature.


Among the many changes and funding reductions in the School Aid portion of the budget, $154 million was added for “Best Practices Incentive Grants” (Section 22f),  providing one-time, $100 per pupil grants for districts that meet 4 out of 5 of the following ‘best practices:’

1)    Have a 90/10 premium share for employee health benefits;

2)    District acts as policy holder of health insurance policies. A district that does not directly employ its staff would be considered to have satisfied this practice;

3)    Enter into or continue consolidation plans;

4)    Obtain competitive bids on at least one non-instructional service totaling more than $50,000; or

5)    Make a public dashboard with financial indicators and performance indicators.


Penalties are added for school districts that intentionally submit false information.


Exact language on competitive bidding of non-instructional school services in the bill:



We will have to wait and see how the program is implemented, but it appears that subsection (4) requires a district to obtain competitive bids on a particular non-instructional service, but not actually contract out that service.   To review this and other details of the education omnibus budget bill, go to:


Impact on Privatization Legislation Passed by the House Education Committee Earlier This Year


With this competitive bidding language included in the FY 2011-2012 Budget, privatization legislation passed by the House Education Committee in March may be considered unnecessary.  As you may recall, House Bill 4306 (H-4) (sponsored by Rep. Agema) also required school districts to obtain competitive bids for noninstructional services. HB 4306 (H-4) is currently awaiting a vote on the House floor and probably will be left on the calendar or referred back to the House Education Committee.  The bill remains viable until the end of the 2011-2012 session and could receive renewed attention should the sponsor, Rep. Agema (R-Grandville) and other bill supporters become dissatisfied with the outcome of the budget language.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FW: Detroit Eastern Market Corporation - Summer Fresh Food Fellow Opportunity



From: Fiona Ruddy [mailto:fruddy@DETROITEASTERNMARKET.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:15 PM
Subject: Eastern Market Corporation - Summer Fresh Food Fellow Opportunity


To be forwarded widely:


Eastern Market Corporation is pleased to announce the kickoff to our 2011 Farm Stand Program! We are looking for a cohort of young adult "Summer Fresh Food Fellows" to serve as ambassadors of produce in the City of Detroit and surrounding Metro-area from June-October.


Please see attached document for a position description and how to apply. 


Thanks so much!




Fiona Colleen Ruddy 

Alternative Food Program Coordinator


2934 Russell Street

Detroit, MI 48207



Friday, May 13, 2011

Michigan Farm to School News



Here are the latest Farm to School news bites.




New USDA Rule Encourages Purchase of Local Agricultural Products for Critical Nutrition Assistance Programs

The new rule implemented as a part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 will let schools and other providers give preference to unprocessed locally grown and raised products that are purchased for the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, Child and Adult Care, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable, and Summer Food Service programs. See attachment for final rule, and click here for the USDA press release. 


In addition to this new rule, the USDA is allocating teams to selected school districts to work on farm to school including nutrition-based studies and food literacy opportunities. Click here to read the article from Food Safety News. 


USDA Seeks Public Comment to Improve Access to Critical USDA Programs

Under a directive from President Obama, the USDA is asking for public comment as it reviews existing program rules and seeks to improve access to USDA programs in the Rural Development, the Risk Management Agency, the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service areas. USDA is seeking input from the public through May 20, 2011. Click here for the USDA press release, which includes a link where comments can be offered. 


USDA Funds Food Safety Research Center 

Kansas State University will host a new USDA research effort that focuses on food safety in schools and child care centers. Click here for the full story from The Packer. 


This month's National MarketMaker newsletter focuses of Farm to School! Check out how MarketMaker can be used to open more opportunities to Farm to School programs here. You can access Michigan MarketMaker at


Michigan Hospital Association Healthy Food Hospitals Campaign

The Healthy Food Hospitals program, coordinated by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association with the Ecology Center, joins together fifty Michigan hospitals as a part of an initiative to fight obesity and promote healthy eating habits by offering more nutritious food choices for hospital patients, visitors, and workers. Read full story here. This effort supports one of the goals of the Michigan Good Food Charter - that institutions like hospitals purchase 20% locally grown and produced food by 2020. In Washtenaw County, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan Health System are at the forefront of these efforts. Click here to read more. 


Michigan Junior Chef Competition held on May 11th

Sponsored by Michigan Team Nutrition, the Michigan Department of Education, the C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture at MSU, and the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, the second Michigan Junior Chef Competition held on Wednesday was a great success! Congratulations to all eight teams that participated in the cook-off competition, and special congratulations to the winning teams: Eight is Enough from St. Brigid Catholic School, Brown City Good for You Girls from Brown City Community Schools, and Small Town Chefs from Hopkins Public Schools. Thanks to our team of judges - Ian Diem, Deb Grischke, Sharon Martin, and Adam Montri - and to MSU's Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski for providing a cooking demonstration. Photos and video from this year's competition will be coming soon! You can look for them, and details about the next Michigan Junior Chef Competition, at our website -





2011 MSU Student Organic Farm Workshops announced

The Student Organic Farm at MSU has set its workshop dates and topics. See flyer attached for the schedule and details.


8 Breakfast on the Farm events to take place in 2011

Breakfast on the Farm is opportunity to learn about the agriculture industry from the experts themselves, the farmers. Click here to see the full list of farm breakfast events and how to register.





Lunch Bites is a short  20 minute webinar series offered by the National Farm to School Network. Lunch Bites webinars are held at 1 pm EST on the second Tuesday of every month. Register for a future webinar and check out recordings and resources from past webinars here.


Check out the new Farm to School Toolkit by the Washingston State Department of Agriculture. The toolkit is designed to provide farms, schools, families, and communities with resources to help them meet their farm-to-school goals. Click here to learn more. 






Home Depot Foundation Announces 2011 Community Impact Grants Program

Up to $5,000 grants, offered as Home Depot gift cards, will be awarded to nonprofits, public schools and public service agencies working on volunteer-driven community improvement projects.
Deadline: October 31, 2011

Click here
for more details 





Colleen Matts

Farm to Institution Specialist

CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems

Michigan State University

303 Natural Resources Building

East Lansing, MI 48824-1222




Thursday, May 12, 2011

Manistee area Farm to School Bid Request

Manistee Area Public Schools, Kaleva Norman Dickson School District, and Bear Lake Schools are now accepting proposals for Michigan fruits and vegetables for delivery to any or all of the following sites:


·         Manistee High School, 525 12th St., Manistee, MI 49660

·         Manistee Middle School, 550 Maple St., Manistee, MI 49660

·         Brethren Middle/High School, 4400 North High Bridge Rd., Brethren, MI 49619

·         Bear Lake School, 7748 Cody St., Bear Lake, MI 49614


Proposals will be accepted for locally-grown products for the 2011/2012 school year for all schools, but proposals will also be accepted for delivery for the summer food service program at Manistee High School and Bear Lake School. Products of interest include: apples, asparagus, blueberries, sweet corn, sweet cherries, green beans, lettuce, pears, plums, potatoes, summer squash, winter squash, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon.


Attached in the bid packet are a vendor questionnaire and product availability and pricing forms for farmers/vendors to complete and submit for consideration.



Please direct all responses, questions, and inquiries to:


Kathy Gutowski                                                        Jenice Momber

Director of Nutrition Services                                 Kaleva Norman Dickson and Bear Lake

Manistee Area Public Schools                              School Districts

525 12th St.                                                                Food Service Director

Manistee, MI 49660                                                 4400 N High Bridge Rd                 

231-398-3695                                                           Brethren, MI 49619                                       231-477-5353 ext. 304                       


Monday, May 9, 2011

MI Farm to School Grant Program - Applications due May 16th!

(Apologies for cross posting)


Michigan Farm to School Grant Program – Applications Due Monday, May 16th!


Food service directors must often work through numerous challenges to start or expand farm to school programs. The goal of the MI Farm to School Grant Program is to help overcome some of these challenges, and initiate and expand farm to school programs across the state.


With funding from the WK Kellogg Foundation, the MI Farm to School Grant Program will award a total of 15 Michigan K-12 schools/districts with funds ($2,000 maximum each) to plan for or implement farm to school programs. The grant year is September 1, 2011 – June 1, 2012.


·         The MI Farm to School Planning Grant will help schools plan for integrating fresh, local foods into cafeterias AND ultimately develop a Farm to School Action Plan to implement a farm to school program after the grant year.

·         The MI Farm to School Implementation Grant will help schools put existing farm to school plans into action AND ultimately develop a Farm to School Sustainability Plan to keep a farm to school program going and growing in future years.


·         The school food service program must have at least 50% free and reduced-price meal enrollment at the time this application is completed. A goal of this program is to help vulnerable children find more healthy and local food choices in school meals programs.


·         Only school food service/nutrition directors can apply for their school district(s) or school(s). Food service directors from a school district may choose to focus on a few school buildings or an entire school district’s food service program, but the district must have 50% free and reduced price meal enrollment. Private or charter schools may apply as an individual school.

·         Only one application for either the planning or implementation grant (not both) is allowed per district or private/charter school per grant year. 


Please review the application materials and sample grant applications attached for more information. You can also find these materials on our website at


To be reviewed, complete applications must be received by 5 pm EST on Monday, May 16th, 2011. Email completed application as an attachment to Jekeia Murphy at





Colleen Matts

Farm to Institution Specialist

CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems

Michigan State University

303 Natural Resources Building

East Lansing, MI 48824-1222