We’ll lead off with a quick plug for an upcoming conference and a look back at one from the recent past. The Conference on Michigan’s Future takes place in a few weeks (Nov 14-16) at Crystal Mountain with a focus on peak oil, energy & transportation choices, local food, climate change and planning. Two weeks ago the Creative Cities Summit 2.0 in Detroit brought folks from all over the world to Detroit to talk about what cities could and should be. Check out Model D’s great report from the conference.
The future is kind of a scary concept these days with talk now that the Big Three might very well become the Not So Large Two, so I suppose we in Michigan can be forgiven for closing our eyes and hoping that it will all come out all right in the end.
Up in Northwest Michigan, folks (including myself) are working on a project for Absolute Michigan sponsor The Grand Vision. It’s a six county effort that is seeking input on the ways that the region should grow – something that should be useful for those from all over the state. The Grand Vision “Scorecards” are due this week and you can get all sorts of information and fill yours out at thegrandvision.org/scorecard. There’s also a video below.
mLive has a guest blog from MSU Karl Guenther about the role of agriculture in the Michigan’s future. He notes that while manufacturing in this state is big and getting smaller, agriculture is big and getting bigger. Karl says that MSU’s Project GREEEN (Generating Research and Extension to meet Economic and Environmental Needs) is a tremendous investment. He references their excellent annual report to the Legislature (PDF) to say:
We have about 10 million acres of farmland, or 53,200 farms averaging 190 acres each. Our farmers produce more than 200 commodities commercially, making Michigan second in diversity of production only to California, which has citrus. We export about a third of all that, generating a billion dollars and supporting 13,000 jobs. (and contributes $63.7 billion to the Michigan’s economy!)
From the “You really think so?” files is the Detroit News’ Nolan Finley saying Michigan should root for warmer earth because although we have 3,288 miles of coastline – more than any other state except Alaska – cool weather leaves the beaches empty for half the year. Add 5 or 10 degrees and he can imagine Florida’s sun and surf worshippers packing up for our shoreline or trading the broiling sun of Arizona for Michigan’s golfers paradise. His tongue is probably partway in cheek as he says it may be our only way out of a dark economic hole, but it begs the question of “what’s wrong with marketing what we already have?”