Archive for November, 2009

As part of its Green Infrastructure initiative, WMSA has worked to support collaborative efforts to develop alternative fuels and energy in West Michigan. One of those efforts is the development of wind turbines, which would be both a new business opportunity and a move toward greener energy.

However, such development takes time. As Greg Northrup points out in his comment in recent coverage, before placing wind turbines offshore  on Lake Michigan it is important to be certain that they will be productive in terms of energy supply for the region.

You can read more in the Capitol News Service report carried  in the Great Lakes Echo blog (the story was also carried in several newspapers from West Michigan, including the Traverse City Record Eagle.

Long term, alternative energy innovation must be balanced with preserving the unique and highly valued aesthetics of West Michigan’s natural environment, Northrup said. WMSA will continue to seek collaborative ideas in keeping with one of the organization’s original priorities: to ensure a sustainable environment.




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We are seeking input from West Michigan farmers in an online survey. The survey is a continuation of the West Michigan agriculture study described in the previous post. The study was also heralded in a Grand Rapids Press editorial November 19 as a valuable tool to guide farm policy in Kent County and West Michigan.

Input from farmers will be useful to gain an even better understanding of agriculture in West Michigan and to inform policy decisions about farmland and agriculture practices. Please take the survey and encourage farmers in the region who you know to do the same.

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More than 70 people attended this morning’ release of a new report called West Michigan Agriculture: The Status and Conditions. Those in attendance came from local and county government, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and of course farms and agricultural businesses. The report is a study of agriculture data in West Michigan as a region and in each of its eight counties and shows that agriculture is a $1.6 billion business in the region. The report is the work of the Land Policy Institute (LPI) at Michigan State University in collaboration with the West Michigan Strategic Alliance.

After some brief introductions from President Greg Northrup about the report and its connections to WMSA’s Green Infrastructure Initiative, LPI’s Melissa Gibson gave a presentation and  overview of the report. Comments and questions from those in attendance ranged from getting township level data, social justice concerns for farm workers, and the growing importance of smaller farms and urban markets.

You can read a news release summary and the full report on WMSA’s Web site.

The report is considered a baseline. WMSA and LPI hope to get more input to talk about next steps to plan in order to ensure that agriculture remains a viable business in West Michigan. To help with that, please spread the word about an online survey of West Michigan farmers.

Look for updates here and on the WMSA Web site

Gibson presents

Melissa Gibson of LPI presents the West Michigan Agriculture report..



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