CCK offers Mediterranean Dinner and a Movie at 2 nd Annual Event

Chelsea Community Kitchen’s dinner and movie event proved so successful last year that it returns this fall Thursday, September 29, 2016. Robin Hills Farm is again hosting and helping sponsor by having the students in their Garden Party Series, Mediterranean Style cooking class show off their new skills by preparing the meal. Tickets for the meal are $45 and can be obtained at the CCK website (see details below).

Dinner will begin at 6:00 p.m., to be served outdoors in a rustic farm setting. After dinner, a film about local food issues will be shown outdoors in the new amphitheater at Robin Hills Farm on a big screen. Bring a blanket to sit on the grass. Those who wish to just attend the movie can plan to show up at 7:30 pm. Admission to the movie is free, although donations to help cover the cost are welcome.

The screening includes two vignettes about different cooking methods using “air” (the science of bread-making) and “earth” (fermentation of food) and how they have impacted our cooking methods over time. The film will be followed by a Q and A period with a few local food experts to discuss their own use of these methods in their businesses.

The menu being prepared by the Garden Party class plans to include:

Appetizer: mushroom risotto.

Salad: grilled watermelon and cucumber with goat cheese with lavender balsamic dressing.

Entree: grilled lamb chops with honey mint glaze, on wheat berry and chick pea salad with roasted vegetables.

Dessert: olive oil cake and rosewater ice cream.

Tickets are available by registering at Checks may be mailed for $45.00 to Chelsea Community Kitchen, P.O. 534, Chelsea, MI 48118. Paypal payments can be made at the website, with a small processing fee added.

A special price is being offered to those who register for two CCK events at once – ‘Dinner and a Movie’ and ‘SAVOR: A Local Hops and Beer Tour’. Purchase tickets for both events for $80.00. Details about both events can be found at our website. CCK serves the communities of Chelsea and surrounding Western Washtenaw with classroom and real-world education devoted to creating a healthy, local and sustainable food culture. CCK offers classes and workshops for children and adults and supports local food entrepreneurs. See for more details about programs and to sign up for our newsletter so you’ll get reminders about this date and other activities. Check us out on Facebook to get the latest news or contact us at for more information.

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We need your help: Get involved with CCK

Dear Chelsea Community Kitchen Supporters,


As President of the Board of Directors, I’ve had the wonderful experience of learning what’s involved in the challenge of running a local food business.  While most of you know Chelsea Community Kitchen for our unique and interesting consumer classes, at the core of why we offer these classes is to support local food businesses.  We hope our classes help introduce some of them to consumers and showcase the talents found in our community.


CCK wants to educate consumers about the issues our farmers and local food entrepreneurs face and one of the best ways we’ve found is through offering a film for the community to view and discuss.  Check out our calendar for the details about this year’s offering on September 29, again co-hosted by Robin Hills Farm.


As an educational non-profit, we also provide educational opportunities for food businesses.  Classes like the required food safety training and the recent craft pork butchery workshop provide opportunities for local workers to stay local for their training.


All these activities are the result of our dedicated volunteer Board members, current and past, who have done all the work that other established non-profits would have staff to perform.  The Board has slowly built our capacity so that some of the daily administrative work and behind the scenes coordination is being done by a number of contracted workers, building towards having an employee.  In turn, this is making it easier for the Board to plan activities and seek the funding to expand programs.  Our most recent success was being chosen to participate in Whole Foods Community Giving day which resulted in funds for increasing contract hours and creating new youth programs.


More activities means more need for volunteers.  I’m writing this to ask you to get involved in some way. Here are a few things we need:

  • SAVOR fundraising event team:  CCK has a signature SAVOR event planned this fall. A team of people will be meeting in the next few weeks to finalize details and make it happen.  We’ll need workers at several steps—arranging for a Hops and Beer Tour!
  • Have ideas for potential programs? Join the program committee to create our calendar, identify potential instructors, and implement classes.  Helping with setup and registration at classes lets you get the instruction for free.
  • Serve beer! We’ve got the opportunity to run a beer tent at the Robin Run in September and need volunteers over 21.  You’ll get to attend the event for free.  And we’ll need helpers at the dinner and a movie event, also in September.
  • Design graphics, write articles, update the website….and lots of other jobs for people with skills in a variety of fields.
  • Click here to sign up for specific events


And most of all…

  • New Board Members.  We need 4-5 additional people to serve on the Board of Directors.  Skills and knowledge in development, culinary arts, communication, and business management are all welcome. Fresh ideas and perspectives are needed as we move into the next stage of our growth.

Each of these positions require varying amounts of time commitment.  The more positions we fill and the more volunteers to serve on the committees, the less time each will take.


Please consider how you can help Chelsea Community Kitchen in the next phase of its growth.  Whether it is as a leader in one of these positions or a member of one of the teams or committees working with them, please join us.


For more information, contact us at and one of our current Board Members will talk to you about your interest.


Monetary donations are always welcome, in addition or instead of your time commitment. Check our website for instructions about donations.


Thank you for your support,  Kathy Carter

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Volunteer with CCK

There are many ways to get involved this summer with Chelsea Community Kitchen. Follow this link to sign up for specific events. You can also email if you are interested in any of the following opportunities.

Marketing and Communication Team: Work on a team that produces marketing for our Chelsea Community Kitchen in Chelsea, Mi. Includes writing press releases, creating graphics for flyers, developing materials for exhibitions, website content, social media, blogs, and newsletters.

Fundraising Event Team: Chelsea Community Kitchen in Chelsesa, MI have three fundraising events with specific needs for each. They vary from a "farm to table" harvest dinner to staffing a beer tent. All types of skills needed. Click here to sign up for a specific one.

1—Staff Beer Tent at 9/17 Robin Run

2—Work at farm-to- table dinner on 9/29

3—Join planning team for SAVOR: Craft Beer Tour

4—Work at SAVOR event 10/15—need drivers with vans!

Programming and Event Team: The Programming and Event team plans Chelsea Community Kitchen classes in Chelsea, Mi. Classes and events are focused on healthy eating and local food. Specific needs:

1—Planning team

2—work registration at events

3—provide setup and cleanup at events

4—produce marketing materials for events


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Healthy on a Budget class series


*Article published in Chelsea Update July 16, 2016. Click here to see the article. Article written by Laura Crawford.

Chelsea Community Kitchen will offer several demos featuring tips to cook for the season. Programs made possible by funding from Faith in Action and the Chelsea Lions Club.

Healthy on a Budget demos will be presented three Wednesdays–July 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 21–from 3-5 p.m. at Faith in Action’sChelsea food pantry located at 603 S. Main on the grounds of the Chelsea Community Hospital.

Fresh fruit and vegetables can be a boon for health for low-income residents. Programs like Washtenaw County’s Prescription for Health and Faith in Action’s food pantry are making a difference by making fresh, local produce available to people who need it the most.

But not everyone knows what to do with the bounty of fresh food. In answer to that need Chelsea Community Kitchen is offering Healthy on a Budget demonstrations this summer at the Faith in Action food pantry.

Presenters will demonstrate recipes for preparing tasty dishes with the season’s bounty and preserving a variety seasonal fruit and vegetables. They’ll also hand out information on fresh produce storage and preparation, as well as healthy eating tips.

July 20 –how to use and store ingredients in season such as greens, peas, squash and zucchini, and more.

Aug. 17 – Preserving seasonal food, and cooking ideas for other in season vegetables.

Sept. 21 – Fall recipe ideas using squash and pumpkins, root vegetables, cabbage and others.

All are welcome to stop by and learn more about cooking with local, seasonal produce. Eligibility for the Faith in Action food pantry is income-based and many participants are also eligible for the Washtenaw County Prescription for Health, which provides $100 toward the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables at local farmer’s markets.

Presenters include Yael Dolev, a food coach and healthy food advocate, Judy Radant, cooking teacher and professional chef, andKathy Carter, CCK board president and accomplished home cook.

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Support CCK on May 10

Chelsea Community Kitchen features blog posts about local food topics featuring local sources for those in Western Washtenaw County.  Guest writers are encourage to contact us at for info about submitting a potential post.

WFApple Logo

Chelsea Community and Friends,
As you hopefully have heard, either from our announcements or from a friend or neighbor, Chelsea Community Kitchen will be the featured organization on May 10 by Whole Foods Market. We received word just a few days ago, that both of the Ann Arbor stores will recognize us for their Community Giving program. So please shop at 3135 Washtenaw Ave or 990 W. Eisenhower Parkway locations.

CCK is proud to be recognized by Whole Foods for having programs that benefit our community and their team members want to support. The Community Giving program, also known at “5% Days,” takes five percent of the designated days’ net sales and donates it to a nonprofit or educational organization that has been selected as one of the year’s community recipients. Quoting from their website, “Each of our stores has a lot of latitude in deciding the best way to operate that individual store to meet the needs of the local community. That makes community giving really special and fun.”

So why does Whole Foods do this?

Whole Foods‘ mission is to bring healthy wholesome foods to the communities where they are located, almost as a civic responsibility. But it goes beyond that. They are committed to contributing to the “better good” of people, community and the planet. One of the ways they accomplish this is to reach out to the community and provide support for causes that align with their core values. Two of their eight core values, are: to serve and support our local and global communities and to promote the health of our stakeholders through healthy eating education. “Our team members are part of the local community and they are passionate about supporting the local causes that are important to our shoppers and neighbors.”

The CCK has several programs that will benefit from this generous donation. Our youth programming, which began 4 years ago as a summer cooking camp for elementary children, has grown to include an after-school cooking and nutrition program and CCK will pilot a middle school summer camp this July. We hope to grow these programs into year-round offerings for a wider age range. CCK also provides healthy cooking and local food programs for seniors, low income, and other community members, often in partnerships with other community groups. And we seek to make people more aware of food issues with programs like the recent “Hungry for Change” series and last year’s “Growing Local” film screening.

So please consider supporting the CCK by shopping at the Whole Foods Market on May 10, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and make that day a great success for our organization and our community.

Debi Weiker, Board of Directors, Development Coordinator

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CCK Seeks Asst Teacher for Summer Kids Programs

Chelsea Community Kitchen is seeking an Assistant Teacher for their summer Kids Cooking programs in the Chelsea, MI area. Chelsea Community Kitchen (CCK) is a non-profit focused on a vision of a community where enthusiasm for local food helps people, the environment, and the economy thrive. Programs in the Western Washtenaw area focus on educating consumers about eating local and healthy, providing access to education and counseling support for people who want to start or grow a food-based business, and connecting food entrepreneurs, educators, and local food enthusiasts with kitchens they can rent. We offer Kids Cooking programming to grades 1-3, 4-6, and 7-9 in different formats.

Position Summary: Assistant Teacher will work with Lead Teacher to plan and implement the daily activities for two program formats: Summer Cooking Camp for grades 1-3 and grades 4-6 and Summer Chef’s Club for grades 7-9. This is a contractual, one-month position of up to 80 hours to begin July 1, 2016 (most hours required July 18-27). Position may be filled by more than one person. View our website ( for details about the program dates and times.

How to Apply: Submit cover letter and resume (including references) by May 1, 2016, to chelseacommunitykitchen or mail to Chelsea Community Kitchen, P.O. Box 534, Chelsea, MI 48118.

Location: Chelsea, MI
Salary: $10-20 per hour, depending on experience
Benefits: none, contract position
Employment Type: Varies by week
Description: Assistant Teacher
Reports to: Board of Directors
• Consult with lead teacher for orientation
• Aid in obtaining and preparing materials and equipment prior to classes
• Be on-site day of classes at least 1 hour before the start and stay up to 1 hour after end to assist with daily set-up and clean-up
• Plan and coordinate daily activities, under guidance of lead teacher
• Work directly with lead teacher, community partners, and volunteers to achieve goals
• Guide and assist children through hands-on cooking process, as needed
• Teach a portion of each day’s lessons to small groups of children
Qualifications and Skills Needed:
• Successful completion of third year of Bachelors degree from accredited college or university in culinary arts, nutrition, elementary education, home economics, or similar field OR demonstrated experience equivalent to this level of education.
• Experience in teaching cooking highly desirable
• Experience working with children of a variety of ages highly desirable
• Solid verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to demonstrate steps in a process to a variety of age levels
• Demonstrated ability to work independently and a proven record of working collaboratively with others

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CSA 101: Learning to Eat Local


Chelsea Community Kitchen features blog posts about local food topics featuring local sources for those in Western Washtenaw County.  Guest writers are encourage to contact us at for info about submitting a potential post.

Wonderful presentation on the what, why, and how of a CSA was offered by representatives of Chrysalis Biodynamic Agricultural Center (educational arm of the Community Farm of Ann Arbor) last Saturday afternoon, March 12.  While dozens of people were strolling the streets of Ann Arbor in their shorts, I ventured into the Ann Arbor Public Library to check out what I could learn to share with CCK followers.  Despite my own familiarity with CSAs (a member of one for 19 years), I learned a few things.

WHAT:  Many people have heard of CSAs and know it’s about getting a regular produce share from a farm.  CSA actually stands for “community supported agriculture” and is about creating a direct partnership between the consumer and who grows their food.  Usually this requires an up-front investment from the consumer, who then is taking on some of the risk of producing food.  This shared risk is critical to helping the farmer have funds early in the season (when seeds and supplies need to be purchased).  The consumer will receive the bounty of the season, but without guarantee of what that might be.

The history of CSA growth shows movements in Europe and in Japan in the 1960’s when people, often mothers, wanted their food to come from closer to home and not be so processed.  The idea came to the United States with two farms in the east forming in 1986 (Michigan saw it’s first CSA the next year right here in Washtenaw—Community Farm of Ann Arbor.)  Today, the USDA shows 12,617 of the 2.1 million farms in America offer a CSA of some type.  Many are in Washtenaw today and the presenters showed a list and discussed many of them.

NOTE:  4th Annual CSA Fair on Sunday, March 20, 2016, 1-4 pm at Cultivate Coffee and Tap House, 307 North River St, Ypsilanti will showcase many in this area.

WHY: The benefits to shareholders, farmers, farms and the greater community are many and the options offered by various CSAs are numerous.  Key for many shareholders is the fresher and tastier food they receive, but the educational experiences and close relationships that form in CSAs are often the great benefit.  Sustainability is a major benefit for both the individuals and the community, as food doesn’t travel so far to get to its destination, the land is better cared for with this close connection between the consumer and farm, and the long-term security of farms and farmers is better managed.

CSAs offer many options in how you select your food (some pre-packed, while others allow you to choose along designated guidelines), the type and duration (full/half, every week or alternating weeks, Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter share or full season, and other variations), pickup location (farm, markets, other locations).  CSAs may offer other add-ons like meat, dairy, eggs, fruit, honey, and flowers and most offer a variety of payment options.  Some allow work for farm as payment or require a number of hours as part of the investment.

HOW: Deciding what works for you is critical in choosing.  The many possibilities available in our area can be overwhelming.  The presenters suggested a number of points to consider in making your choice:

  • Agricultural practices or farm values: really talk with the farmer and ask questions.  Are they pesticide-free or no spray, do they receive organic certification (why or why not, this is an often long and expensive process, so farmers may not opt for the outside verification), what other practices they use (biodynamic, free-range, etc)
  • Selection: what produce is offered by the farm (look for what you’ll enjoy eating or learning about)
  • Convenience: pickup days/times and locations, packaging
  • Duration: length of season (how many weeks will you get produce), commitment you have to make
  • Cost: how much and how you pay (making relative comparisons can be difficult, but to compare will need to use the practices, selection, convenience, and duration factors)

Your decision has to be made on what matters to you.  Do you want to experience and see where your food comes from—you may want a farm pickup so you can take your kids for picnics or see the animals (every farm has some animals!).  Do you want to have more done for you, so pickup is quicker—you may want a pre-packed box someplace close to where you live.  Talk to the farmers, talk to people who have been members previously, and ask a lot of questions.  The CSA Fair is a great time to do all of this.

Once you join, then give yourself time to learn and grow.  The first year may seem to be overwhelming and too many veggies may wilt as you learn how to store and preserve them.  It is a big transition to learn to eat locally, and the presenters emphasize you need to be gentle with yourself in making the transition.  Getting a box of what is in season and figuring out how to prepare those items instead of going to the grocery store and picking out the items you want at the moment is a big change.  They offered suggestions (and a lot of detailed tips I can’t repeat in full here):

  • Get in the habit or preparing space in your pantry and refrigerator BEFORE you pickup
  • Choose a pickup time when you can allow time that day or the next day to do some food prep
  • Learn how to store and preserve food to keep it fresh (current members and farmers are great sources of info, as well as the internet)—the presenters gave some geenral food storage tips for different types of produce
  • Keep some food pre-washed and cut for easy use or incorporation into your daily needs

I can’t even begin to convey all the information and resources the group of presenters from Chrysalis gave.  But here’s a few of the links they offered.  Check out the CCK website for additional resources.

CSA Coalition

The Farmers Market CSA Booklet (2012 edition still has relevant info)

University of Nebraska-Lincoln (food canning, freezing, and drying)

NOTE:  Chrysalis Biodynamic Agricultural Learning Center sponsored this presentation.  This group offers workshops and events to the general public like school field trips, a summer farm camp, internships, classes like composting and fermentation, and similar offerings.  The presenters were all current members of the Community Farm of Ann Arbor (CFAA) and during the presentation described the CSA model there, while still offering a wealth of info about other CSA farms in the area.  Here’s synopsis of CFAA as they presented it:  Member-owned, so not based around a specific farmer.  Members make decisions about produce grown, farm issues, set prices, etc using a consensus decision making process. Farm practices biodynamic agriculture, focused on nurturing the soil.   Current farmers have been working for over 20 years (this is the third set of farmers the CSA has had).  Pickups are available on farm Wed and Sat, full and half shares available (partners can be found for you).  Select produce from a list of what is available per share.   Volunteer commitment of 15 hours over the growing season can be filled with field work, outreach/communication tasks, event planning/assistance, meeting attendance.  Price is a sliding scale with payments due at intervals between March and August. Several member events held during the season (typically May, Sept, and November), plus monthly meetings.

Written by Kathy Carter

CCK publishes blogs on local food issues and events, in season produce tips, cooking techniques, and local farms and vendors.  Contact us to submit ideas or writing.

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Local Food Gains a Following in Washtenaw County

Food is indeed one of life’s greatest pleasures; more than just a necessity, meals have set the scene for everything from family bonding to diplomatic bargaining throughout history. Unfortunately, in today’s overscheduled society, convenience meals and fast food become practical defaults, saving time while stripping us of both nutrition and the opportunity to savor delicious, home-cooked creations. While our European counterparts strive to protect the sanctity of mealtimes (and the associated interaction with friends and family), many Americans are still stuck in the rut of eating on the go –- of treating our bodies’ nourishment as yet another task on the to-do list instead of an important social and cultural ritual.

However, the recent movement toward handcrafted, locally-produced food may be sending us back in the right direction, as many food-based startups commit to both growing their businesses and engaging and reinvigorating the communities around them. Washtenaw County in particular is home to a number of burgeoning food-trepreneurs selling everything from artisan cheeses to free-range meats while attracting local citizens to educational workshops, farm tours, and seasonal events. These innovators also partner with one another to help customers understand the origins of their food and build relationships with other consumers, resulting in a strong following for the movement itself instead of a single brand or company. Communal resources like Chelsea Community Kitchen, Washtenaw Food Hub and Tilian Farm Development Center provide direct assistance to the entrepreneurs themselves, rallying local support and spurring development of countless new businesses. Read on to learn more about some of the local pioneers infusing Washtenaw County with fresh flavors and ideas!

Ann Arbor’s own The Brinery produces elaborate sauerkraut concoctions with quirky names like “Stimulus Package” and “Rust Belt,” as well as pickles, hot sauces, and tempeh. If their delicious offerings arouse your inner fermentation enthusiast, fear not – they also offer beginner courses on making your own sauerkraut, and workshops on other brined goodies like kimchi and kefir for advanced fermenters.

Chelsea’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) powerhouse Tantré Farm offers a variety of share options, including Thanksgiving, Winter Solstice and Midwinter Morning’s Dream boxes to celebrate the comfort-food-ready produce of the cooler months. All CSA boxes include an assortment of Tantré’s fresh veggies and other hand-selected surprises from local food producers. Events sponsored by the farm include agricultural workdays, educational courses in the summer, and interactive tours for kids and kids at heart. (NOTE: See “Farm Fresh” on the CCK website for other local CSAs and farms.)

White Lotus Farm is a one-stop shop for everything from produce to artisan cheeses, and grants extra perks to CSA customers, such as pesto and salsas made with herbs and veggies from the farm. Customers can even purchase a bread-only CSA share, which buys them a delicious baker’s-choice loaf every week from May through October. White Lotus also hosts art events, farm dinners, and tours and tastings for those hungry for knowledge or a delicious farm-to-table meal.

Locavorious is a preserved-produce CSA that distributes food during the sparse winter months when most farm CSAs are in seasonal hibernation. The goods include fruits and vegetables from local growers (a majority within 100 miles of Ann Arbor), which are picked, packed, and frozen during the summer and offered to members once the weather turns cold. Locavorious also sponsors and participates in educational and charity events, and engages with consumers year-round via blog posts and articles.

With the abundance of vegetable-laden CSAs in the area, meat lovers will appreciate Zatkovich Pastures’ focus on selling high-quality grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chickens and free-range organic eggs. Zatkovich’s owners also provide educational farm tours to groups and organizations, and give consumers a glimpse of farm life through articles, pictures and updates on their Facebook page.

Thanks to Holly Ellis for this submission.

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Healthier Holiday Eating

Chelsea, MI: As 2015 comes to a close and Michiganders prepare for holiday gatherings, many have one thing on their minds: food.  Expand your baking repertoire by attending Healthy Holiday Baking – Vegan Style on December 9, 2015, from 7:00pm-8:30 pm at 128 Park St., Chelsea, MI, sponsored by Chelsea Community Kitchen.  The course fee is $15, and registration is available at

Casseroles, eggnog, and rich desserts have always been a staple of the colder months, but the combination of comfort food and good company is often a recipe for overeating. In fact, a study by Georgia State University’s Psychology Department found that a person’s food consumption increased by 33% if they dined with one other person, and up to 96% if they had seven dining companions! With holiday-themed celebrations around every corner, this is bad news for those of us trying to dodge the seasonal belly bulge without avoiding festivities altogether.

So if the odds are stacked in favor of the food table, how can we indulge without increasing our pant size? Chelsea Community Kitchen has one idea, and it involves swapping calorie-laden desserts for healthy-yet-delicious alternatives. The Kitchen has enlisted the help of Certified Personal Chef and Vegan Lifestyle Coach Vicki Brett-Gach, who will teach locals how to make three of her holiday favorites: Baked Cranberry, Apple and Pear Crumble; Chocolate Peanut Butter Button Cookies; and Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

Ms. Gach’s creations are big on flavor, but better for your waistline, as they are made without using any butter, milk or eggs. She will also be discussing the difference between vegan and vegetarian baking, and addressing questions about making healthier food choices. This December course is one of Chelsea Community Kitchen’s periodic educational offerings focused on healthy eating and local food. This will be a demonstration with lots of sampling!

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Chelsea Food Preserve

An idea of creating a fully equipped self-serve food processing facility is being proposed by local business owner Von Miller.

This facility would be a place where people from the community can bring produce from their personal gardens, local farms, or farmer’s markets to be canned, preserved, dehydrated or fermented for their own personal use; as well as a place equipped to self-butcher and process deer, small game or domestic farm animals for their own personal use.

The purpose of this idea is to encourage a healthy lifestyle of eating locally produced food by providing a facility with shared access to a wide variety of food processing and preserving equipment that may be too cost prohibitive or uneconomical for individuals to purchase for their own limited personal use; as well as a venue for food related education, training, mentoring and fellowship.

Von is working with the MSU Product Design Center and needs community help.  Please respond to a survey to help determine if there is enough community interest in this type of facility.  You can find the survey by clicking here.

To get updates about this project, go to the Facebook page and click “Like.”

Also, get more info by downloading this pdf.

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