Community Grant 2012 Finalists
Calling All Members...
to vote for your favorite non-profit organization from among the following list of finalists for the 2013 Community Grant. Our board committee narrowed the field of 10 applicants to 5. Voting begins March 1 and runs through April 15. The winner will be announced at the General Membership meeting on April 18 at Traverse City Central High School.
You must be a current member in order to vote. Read about the finalists below, get your ballot from Customer Service, choose one organization, and place your ballot in in the large, green ballot can next to the Customer Service desk. (Members must ask for their ballot in person. Family members may not pick up your ballot.)
ISLAND (Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design) is creating an enclosed trailer that unpacks into a high-efficiency, three-season food preservation kitchen and workshop space. This is a lightweight trailer that can be pulled onto small farms at the peak of produce ripeness. From the trailer we unload tents, tables and outdoor stoves. The remaining interior contains equipment, sinks and workspace that can host up to a dozen people. The Oryana Community Grant would provide needed funds for equipment purchase and trailer modifications.
Beyond canning, the trailer will support drying, fermenting, smoking and meat curing. It will serve as a farm-based space to hold classes and community food preservation parties, so that folks can learn the important techniques of food preservation, meet their farmers and enjoy shared work.
ISLAND is a non-profit arts, ecology and agricultural organization based in Bellaire, Michigan, dedicated to connecting people with nature, art and community. We create and share a broad collection of tools that restore old skills and develop new traditions of community self-reliance and ecological living.
Our work is rooted in these 10 counties. We cultivate collaboration, and have organized hundreds of workshops, teaching skills like food preservation, livestock husbandry, and soil development. We’ve founded school and community gardens, created a network for small farmers, and acted as fiduciary and planning partner for the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference. ISLAND programs and workshops have reached thousands of people in our community over the last seven years.
ISLAND currently runs a similar project: a mobile, MDA certified poultry processor—we lovingly call it the Chicken Coupe. The Coupe allows small farmers to process chickens, ducks and turkeys, bypassing expensive processing facilities and enabling farmers to sell direct to their customers.
With the addition of this food preservation trailer, we can connect the dots between food preservation and a vibrant local economy. Not only can we make food preservation into a great occasion for community, we can close the gap between the seasonal crop surplus on small farms and bountiful cellar pantries for scores of families.
On The Ground
On the Ground supports sustainable community development in farming regions across the world. On the Ground (OTG) empowers farm communities in developing nations. Formed in 2010, a group of passionate individuals quickly realized that fair trade wasn’t enough. By working in cooperation with villages, we provide the tools and access to fresh water, schools and other essentials. We work hand in hand with fair trade suppliers to ensure access to markets and a fair wage. We are proud of the impact we are making for thousands of farmers across the globe; even more so considering that projects occur with the communities’ cooperation and sweat equity.
Our newest project focuses on home. OTG comprehends that attitude shifts/cultural ideals are not sustainable without youth. A child’s Northern Michigan kitchen is far from her parents’ morning coffee grown in Mexico. Research indicates that sustainable lessons learned by children must be concrete, poignant and fun. For the Oryana grant amount of $6,000, we will target 200 middle/high school students by involving them in fair trade simulations and student discussions.
Students will comprehend how the role they play as global citizens and their actions can make a difference. SEEDS, a nonprofit focused on change through youth, is partnering with OTG and has existing school relationships in Benzie, Leelanau, Manistee and Kalkaska counties. Additionally, they have laid excellent groundwork for maximum audience reception.
Through lively discussions led by area fair trade-minded business leaders, students will talk about food. Where does coffee come from and why is the price different from store to store? Why buy local strawberries for jam? Is cheaper better? Discussions about food/pesticide safety, community action and finance will also provide a holistic approach to the topic. Students will then plan and enact both a fair trade and non fair trade simulation with role-play as the farmer to the purchaser to the Northern Michigan consumer making a choice.
It is our hope that the next generation will accept an active role in making our world more connected. With Oryana’s assistance, this hope can become reality for students.
On behalf of PEACE Ranch I would like to request $6,000 from Oryana in a program grant to help young people, ages 10-17 address the relational dynamics present in bullying behaviors through Balance. Balance is an innovative, equine-assisted education program which will enable young people from a five county area to develop self-confidence, boundary setting, communication, and leadership skills. Armed with new skills, these youth are more likely to become a positive force in schools, families, and the larger community for the prevention of the aggression, passivity or victimization that is interfering in both educational and recreational environments.
PEACE Ranch is a faith-based equine-assisted counseling and education center which provides a non-traditional approach to problem solving. Through structured and specialized activities with horses, clients/students are able to surmount fears, improve communication skills, learn to regulate their emotions, gain assertiveness and confidence, and increase self-esteem.
Our mission is to facilitate healing through the parallel process of rescue, rehabilitation and restoration for horses and humans. Most of the horses used in therapy and educational programs at PEACE Ranch were rescued from abuse and neglect situations. Natural, relationship-based training models are used in the rehabilitation of both horses and humans thereby providing a multitude of restorative and educational opportunities for horses and humans alike
Balance will be provided in collaboration with area organizations like Girls Scouts and SEEDS and offered to participants free of charge. Capturing the spirit of Oryana’s long standing commitment to the community to provide the best, natural collaborative approach to counseling services, Balance provides the opportunity to engage rescued horses to help hurting humans in a relationship-focused experience to facilitate health and hope in our youth. By supporting this grant proposal, you will enable this exciting opportunity to be available for all who wish to participate.
Goodwill Farm to Freezer
Goodwill’s Farm to Freezer program uses the bounty of local fresh food to change lives. We are requesting funds to establish the food services job training portion of our program. We would use this grant to purchase kitchen start-up equipment and cover participant training costs.
Goodwill’s Farm to Freezer program provides disabled, disadvantaged, unemployed or underemployed clients with training, certification and work experience in food service and food processing. These activities are necessary to provide a path to entering into competitive local employment. As our region gains notoriety as a foodie destination, food services job training will be a great asset to the people we serve and to our partnering farmers. To find program participants, we will work with other local nonprofit agencies, the Goodwill Inn and our own Employment Specialist. Our graduates will fill a much needed gap in available food-related employment opportunities in our community. During and after the program, our Employment Specialist will work with each participant on individual goals and provide job search and retention services for at least 6 months.
Goodwill’s Farm to Freezer program will purchase food from local farmers which will then be processed and packaged by trainees for storage and distribution. Produce will be processed as follows: cleaned, chopped, sometimes blanched, bagged and flash frozen. Frozen local product will then be available to local buyers (such as schools, hospitals and restaurants) outside of the harvest season.
To implement this program, we need sheet pans, cutting boards, wash sinks and knife services. Additionally, we need help covering training and certification costs for the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe program for each of our participants.
The Watershed Center
The Watershed Center’s mission is to advocate for clean water in Grand Traverse Bay and to protect and preserve its 1,000-square-mile watershed. We are undertaking a Watershed Forestry Initiative in this capacity.
We have already planted 2,100 trees. Oryana staff generously helped plant 700 of those trees along the Boardman River in April. Oryana and its members understand that healthy local water is imperative for healthy local food.
Our EPA-approved Grand Traverse Bay Watershed Protection Plan finds that nutrients and sediments are the top two threats to Grand Traverse Bay’s watershed. Runoff is the primary way that these pollutants reach our waters. Tree canopies slow runoff while root systems help retain soil and increase water filtration, reducing sedimentation. Trees and other deep-rooted vegetation help absorb nutrients, improving water quality.
Our research found that the Grand Traverse Bay watershed lost more than 4,000 acres of tree cover between 2001 and 2009. This equates to a loss of 30 million cubic feet of runoff storage and filtration, or a loss of $60 million in economic benefits.
We are requesting a grant of $6,000 to plant more trees in priority areas. This project is vital to our Up North water quality~and quality of life. Thank you for your consideration, and for your caring stewardship of our Up North waters for future generations.