Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 26, 2013

Farm Focus in Brief: 01/26/2013


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Capitol Experience

LANSING --Teens from around the state have the chance to participate in a four-day conference focusing on civic engagement and public policy during the 31st annual 4-H Capitol Experience.

Open to high school students 14 years and older, 4-H Capitol Experience will take place March 17-20 in Lansing and surrounding areas. Adult participants/chaperones are also welcome to attend. Participants learn how they can become politically engaged and influence policy issues while interacting with legislators, state agency staff members and lobbyists.

Attendees will learn about the responsibilities of citizens, explore policy issues, be introduced to careers in public policy, attend a bill writing session and have an in-depth meeting with someone involved with state government. Teens leave the conference prepared to share what they learned and get involved with others in leadership and civic engagement activities in their communities.

The cost for the conference is $310 for 4-H members and $320 for non-members. Scholarships are available, and forms can be found at Space is limited to 100 teens and chaperones; selection is made through an application process. Registration is due by Feb. 13, but application should be made through the local county MSU Extension office.

For more information, contact or (517) 432-7603.

Horticulture ed

EAST LANSING — Michigan State University Extension horticulture educators are embarking on a new campaign to help Michigan residents become smarter gardeners.

They will be presenting smart gardening in a variety of ways at the Novi Cottage and Lakefront Living Show Feb. 21-24 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, and at the West Michigan Home and Garden Show Feb. 28-March 3 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids.

For more information, visit migarden.msu.ed

Celebrate 4-H

EAST LANSING — Thousands will be on hand March 3 at the Jack Breslin Center at Michigan State University to celebrate Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development at the eighth annual "MSUE 4-H Day with the Lady Spartans." Those in attendance will get the chance to cheer on the MSU women's basketball team as they take on the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

During halftime, 4-H members at center court will lead the crowd in the 4-H pledge. The event also offers fans a chance to participate in 4-H-related activities and view displays about Michigan 4-H.

Tip-off is at 2 p.m. Gates open at 12:30 p.m. for the general public. For 4-H and MSUE attendees who have reserved-seat tickets, Gate D will open at noon. Admission is free for 4-H and MSUE families, but tickets must be reserved in advance. Contact a local MSU Extension office for more information about tickets.

Transportation may be coordinated through the county MSU Extension office. Parking is free for all school buses; all other buses are $20. Car parking is $5.

For more information, email to

Program on growing

TRAVERSE CITY — The Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan will host its monthly educational program Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Boardman River Nature Center on Cass Road.

Mike Kiessel of Suttons Bay and Brenin Wertz-Roth, owner of Giving Tree Farm and Nursery in Grawn, will share their experiences in seed starting, seed saving, plant breeding and grafting.

Kiessel is a master gardener volunteer and enthusiast of both seed saving and plant breeding, as well as a member of the Seed Savers Member Growers Evaluation Network. He has bred everything from hostas, lillies, poppies, apples and melons to heirloom tomatoes and more. Wertz-Roth is a vendor at the Traverse City Farmers Market, specializing in vegetable starts and edible landscaping plants.

The educational program will begin at 6:30 p.m. For anyone interested in arriving earlier, a potluck will run from 6-6:30 p.m.

Suggested donation is $5-$10 at the door. The program is open to the public.

Questions? Call MSU Extension-Leelanau County at 256-9888. To learn more about the Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan, visit