Sweet Cherries on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
Sweet Cherries on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
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(Editor’s Note: OMP resident John Wunsch applauds the Peninsula Township Board for establishing an Agricultural Advisory Committee, noting that it gives farmers a voice, helps guide the Township’s farm ordinances, and creates more agritourism opportunities for farmers on the OMP. Read on for his thoughts. -jb)

It was great news to see that the Peninsula Township Board approved the request by Planner Jenn Cram to establish a standing Agricultural Advisory Committee. The committee will advise staff and the board of matters related to production agriculture on the Old Mission Peninsula.

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This committee differs from the former Citizen Agricultural Committee, in that it will only be made up of farmers. This will give them a voice to educate the staff, the board, and the community on issues they face. They can pick up on the previous committee’s support of planner Cram’s recommendation to develop an agritourism section for the township ordinance to enhance and guide more opportunities for farmers on the OMP.

Based on that recommendation, planner Cram already met with an ad hoc group of agricultural operators in 2022 to start exploring new ideas for more value-added agritourism activities, and has already revised the roadside stand ordinance to improve retail potential.

Now, with other pressing projects well in hand, the planner is able to start this very important work to look at ways that value-added agritourism can be facilitated in our township. Combining Ms. Cram’s experience helping other communities build better agricultural opportunities and serving on the Michigan Right to Farm Committee, with a group of OMP’s active agricultural operators, will lead to a better future for agriculture on the OMP.

It is time to add to the current U-Pick, Farm Stand, Farm Processing and Tasting Room opportunities on the OMP with new innovations: from limited food processing kitchens, workshops, and tours to Farmers Markets and more.

There needs to be new ways our farmers can add value to what they produce for the community and visitors to enjoy. Who knows what new creative uses can be added?

I hope this new Agricultural Advisory Committee will also work with the planner to find situations where the process and cost of some permitting for farmers might be eased. I look forward to seeing ideas take shape to make farming easier on the OMP and to add revenue opportunities through activities that are directly related to and auxiliary to our farms’ operations.

The Township Board made a sound decision to support this great initiative putting farm operators together with our experienced planner, who is dedicated to the success of farming on the OMP. They can build a better future for farming on the OMP.

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Shaking Cherries on Johnson Farms | Jane Boursaw Photo

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2 COMMENTS

  1. John bravo!
    I agree 100% with you. I have ideas that I will be presenting to the group once it gets going. Being an official town committee I assume they will have minutes and will zoom it. Unlike the ag committee where after the first meetings they decided not to have minutes and never zoomed it. So there was no record of what actually was said.
    I also think they should allow back and forth between the committee and observers. It will make for more meaningful discussions.
    In any event we will have a chance to see how agritourism is addressed at the upcoming planning committee meeting when they take up the lavender farm request.

  2. Thank you for this very informative and insightful article on a very positive and progressive approach to moving our township forward in a way that embraces our agricultural heritage by helping our farmers build a sustainable future. Kudos to everyone involved!

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