Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 8, 2013

Ag Forum: What's environmental farming?

BY JESSICA RASCH Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — It’s not uncommon to witness a breathtaking view of the bays and inland lakes from one of the hundreds of sprawling farms across the region.

This closeness to what makes our region so beautiful is exactly why growers are voluntarily implementing the most stringent environmental safety measures through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). Just this past April, Gov. Rick Snyder visited the Grand Traverse region to commend the seven-member Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula for their commitment to the MAEAP program.

In celebration of the Grand Traverse Conservation District’s dedication to agriculture, a Community Stewardship Series event will be held at three local wineries highlighting the success of the agriculture pillar. Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery, and Chateau Grand Traverse will be highlighted as representatives of the seven MAEAP verified Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula on June 22.

The event will offer the opportunity to learn firsthand from the winery owners and your local MAEAP technicians, Jessica Rasch and Garrett Coggon, what measures our local vineyards are taking to protect the landscapes that surround us. You can also enjoy wine tasting at each location and a personal tour of Chateau Grand Traverse by the winery owner. Please visit the events page on for more information.

If you can’t make the MAEAP wine tour, be sure to visit your regional MAEAP technicians at the Sarah Hardy Downtown Farmers Market on Saturdays to learn more about the program. The Grand Traverse Conservation District has partnered with the market to promote MAEAP to both the vendors as well as the consumer.

Vendors are proud to display the “This Farm is Environmentally Verified” sign recognizing their commitment to the health of the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the lakes and streams we love. MAEAP verification assures growers they are truly doing the right thing for the land they love by preserving its integrity for future generations.

When you purchase food from a verified farm, you are demonstrating your support for local farmers who voluntarily adopt environmentally sound growing practices. So keep an eye out for the MAEAP logo and join your local farmers in doing your part to tread lightly upon our land and water.