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More green for eating greens: Eat local movement gets federal boost

More green for eating greens: Eat local movement gets federal boost

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The eat local movement is getting a federal boost.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded Local First a two-year $94,000 grant for Community Supported Agriculture.  Local First is teaming up with West Michigan Growers Group and Michigan State University Extension to provide resources for farmers to grow their CSA programs. With CSAs, community members purchase a share of a local farm, which then divides its harvest among investors.  The CSA form of farming provides stability for farmers and allows investors to enjoy seasonable, locally grown produce. The program provides the health, relational and economic benefits that come with eating local.

My Town: Farm to turn cow patties into power

My Town: Farm to turn cow patties into power

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.—A Coopersville farm will soon be powered by animal waste.

Sustainable Partners LLC (Spart) plans to develop an anaerobic digester for Consumers Energy and Beaver Creek Farms, located at 18080 80th Ave. The biogas plant will transform cow manure from the farm, as well as fats, oils and restaurant grease into methane using natural bacteria in an oxygen-free environment.  That methane is then used to fuel a heater and power engine that produces electricity and thermal energy.

Beaver Creek Farm owner Bill Henke says the bio digester will provide additional benefits for his farm- the manure will retain important nutrients for field spreading, but lose the odor and reduce the general hassles of managing manure.

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

Michigan, our great state. Whether we realize it or not, we really do have a great state.

Granted, we had an unusual winter this past year but then again, have you ever seen the grass and trees so green before? Even people returning from Florida this year have commented about everything being so green!

Despite all of the good things, I still hear people complain about it either being too cool, too cloudy, too hot, etc. To those people I say, maybe it’s time for you to move to a perfect climate, wherever that may be.

I love Michigan and all it has to offer. We have the Great Lakes, a treasure on their own. I used to have an older friend, Bill Hickey, who had apple orchards.

He told me, “You will never, ever find an apple as snappy when you bite into it as a Michigan apple in the fall, because of the Great Lakes.” 

My Town Coopersville: Waste water treatment plant may soon handle larger loads

My Town Coopersville: Waste water treatment plant may soon handle larger loads

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.-- City council members will consider amending an ordinance next week to allow the waste water treatment plant to handle a larger load.

City Manager Steven Patrick says a recent study indicates the city's upgraded system can treat more waste water, which may be necessary for expanding businesses like Continental Dairy.  Patrick says setting a new limit may also prove worthwhile if another business invests in the city.

The city council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Monday, July 28.

My Town Coopersville: Farm selected for new waste-to-energy program

My Town Coopersville: Farm selected for new waste-to-energy program

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.—Consumers Energy and Michigan State University are teaming up with a Coopersville farm to transform waste into energy.

Beaver Creek Farms is one of four farms selected for the new anaerobic digester program, along with Brook View Dairy in Freeport, Green Meadow Farms Inc., in Elsie and Scenic View Dairy in Fennville.

Anaerobic digesters generate electricity from biodegradable material.

“The addition of anaerobic digestion brings more diversity to our existing renewable energy supply from wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric dams,” explains Timothy Sparks, Consumers Energy’s vice president of energy supply operations.

My Town: Goats on the loose at Eastmanville Bayou

My Town: Goats on the loose at Eastmanville Bayou

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich—Visitors to Eastmanville Bayou will encounter the county’s new set of four-legged landscapers.

The Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Department says a herd of grazing goats has been released at the bayou to begin its work reducing invasive species.  Visitors are welcome to watch the goats at work, but should remain clear of the electric fence surrounding them and not pet the goats.  Plant oils from the poison ivy and other invasive plants the goats are munching on could be on the goats’ coats, making them transferrable to humans.

The goats are also being used at Bur Oak Landing in Coopersville and Riverside Park in Grand Haven. 

My Town Coopersville: Students win national award to change the world

My Town Coopersville: Students win national award to change the world

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.— A group of Lamont Christian School students are being honored for their lunchroom invention.

Team Recycling Quads is a finalist in this year’s Siemens “We Can Change the World Challenge.”  The middle school students redesigned Lunchables trays in the shape of a plastic bottle so that it could be easily recycled for money.

The team was among three in Michigan selected by a panel of judges comprised of environmental, science and educational leaders.  Each member of the team receives a certificate and green prize pack.  The school also gets a congratulatory banner to display.

“Now, more than ever, environmental issues are at the forefront of our national discussion.  These students bring fresh perspectives with new and exciting solutions that affect change,” said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. “The Siemens Foundation and Siemens’ 53,000 employees are inspired by the innovation of these students.”