Thursday, September 24, 2009

First Friday Potluck

Join us at the Wagbo farmhouse for food, fun, and good company. Next month's First Friday Potluck will be held on October 2nd. Dinner starts at 6 pm. Bring a dish to pass if you can; but feel free to join us with or without one. Drinks and table service are provided by Wagbo.

Then stick around after dinner and help us prepare for the Fungi and Fermentation Skill Swap! Volunteers will receive free or reduced admission to the event, depending on how much they volunteer. Call Maria for more details at 231-536-0333.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fungi and Fermentation Skill Swap

Join the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design (ISLAND) and the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center as we explore the wide world of fungi and fermentations. Anyone with an interest in local foods; wild-crafting; food preservation; or tasty, healthful meals will greatly benefit from the workshops offered here. Experienced teachers will present an array of topics, including wild mushroom hikes, mushroom dyeing, mushroom paper, cheese making, vegetable fermentations, mead making, and much more! There will also be local vendors selling fungal and fermented goods. The skill swap is taking place Sunday, October 4th from 1 pm to 5 pm. It will be held at the Wagbo Farm, located three miles south of East Jordan at 5745 North M-66. Cost is $20 for pre-registration by Friday, September 25th or $25 at the door. For a complete list of workshops and vendors, or to register, call Yvonne at 231 480 4515 or email

  • Mushroom cultivation with Jim Ruster of Mitchell Hill Farm
  • Paper-making with polypores taught by Franny Bluhm
  • Fall mushroom hunting led by Michigan Mushroom Hunter's Club Vice President Jim Provci
  • Dyeing wool with mushrooms taught by fiber artist Julie Hurd of the Lake Charlevoix Weavers Guild
  • Cheese making taught by Amanda Kik of ISLAND
  • Sauerkraut preparation by Mark Maier
  • Composting with Mike and Monika Fiebing of Bella Terra Farms
  • Kombucha with Pepper Bromelmeir
  • Mead making with Nels Veliquette, beekeeper and fourth generation farmer in Northern MI
  • Wine making with Brian Hosmer
  • Live ginger beer and kefir with Nirinjan Singh and Kimberly Dante of Anahata Balance
  • Whole Grain Home Brew with Jerome Grskovic, BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) beer judge

Sponsored by Eden Foods, and support from the following: Field and Forest Products, and Pleasanton Bakery, Tandem Ciders, Leelanau Cultured Veggies, Black Star Farms, Mushroom the Journal.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Art of Tracking

The Tracking Workshop held on August 29th and 30th in collaboration with ISLAND was a great success! We reached a full registration of 15 enthusiastic students, plus the tracker and several volunteers. Paul Raphael, a tracker from Leelanau County, and Intern Maria Wesserle led the activities. Saturday started out rather dreary and rainy, but everyone became inpsired to learn by Paul's talk about tracking and bird language. Then we went out in the field to engage in some exercises.


Here's a picture of folks walking along the "Unnature Trail"--trying to find human-made objects hidden near the rope.

In the evening, folks headed inside to learn more about animal tracks.


Everyone picked a picture of an animal track that they couldn't identify. Then, using taking clues from the foot morphology, (does it have claws, long fingers, webbed toes, etc.) the students tried to imagine a 24-hour period of life for their animal. People seemed rather confused during this activity, but actually everyone ended up with a description really close to the actual animal!

The next day was dedicated to learning about animal sign and bird language in the field.


Here are Chris and Maria practicing animal forms--in this case they were emulating the walk of a raccoon. This exercise was designed to help people empathize with the animals they're tracking. Understanding (and feeling!) the way an animal moves is as important to tracking as understanding what its feet look like.

The rest of the day was spent studying animal tracks and trails.


This picture shows Art and Oren looking for deer tracks and marking them with colored popsicle sticks. The ones in the sandy road were usually easy to find, but once the deer moved into the forest, finding tracks was much more challenging!

This event was loads of fun, and hopefully there will be more of its kind in the near future. However, event couldn't have happened without the dedicated volunteers and generous sponsors. Please show the following businesses your support, and thank them for sponsoring community events in northern Michigan!

Oryana Natural Foods Market

Bellaire Smokehouse

Grain Train Natural Foods

Turtle Kitchen

Providence Farm and CSA

Valley Graphics Printing Company