Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fruit Ridge, History and Promotion

As part of the commemoration of Women's History Month, The Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council sponsored a presentation Thursday night titled "Women of the Ridge: Handling the Business and Politics of West Michigan Agriculture". The event was held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.  Participating in the program as honored guests were Sharon Steffens and JoAnne Thome, two of the 1972 leaders known as the "Fearsome Foursome." Steffens was elected the first national coordinator of the American Agri Women organization, a coalition formed in 1974 of farm women and farm women's organizations. The Thome family name is well known on The Ridge as well for its successful farming enterprise. Joining them were Ginny Ebers, Pat Rasch Cederholm and her sister Mary Rasch Alt, all Alpine Township women.

Women of the Ridge, JoAnne Thome, Sharon Steffens, Pat Cederholm, Ginny Ebers.  Photo by MaryRasch Alt 
Meanwhile, other members of the Ridge Economic Agricultural Partners were meeting at the Alpine Township Hall Thursday evening about promotional opportunities offered via the Internet.  Bruce Barker of the West Michigan Tourism Association discussed a new Agri Tourism promotional program called "FIND YOUR FLAVOR" which promotes farm stands or shops, U-pick orchards, on-farm tours and classes, festivals, Christmas tree farms, wineries or the dozens of other options.  REAP members were provided with an opportunity to join the West Michigan Tourism Association at a special rate, and an offer to have a website developed by REAP supporter Jonathan Mast, founder and chief strategist at Valorous Circle. There was also a presentation by the director of the Sparta Downtown Development Association Elizabeth Morse-Gorski aided by intern Katherine Russell, who developed a new website promoting the Ridge.  On the Fruit Ridge is dedicated to bringing together the farm markets, the events and festivals, and all the activities held just northwest of Grand Rapids, Michigan  It hopes to bring travelers to this site so they can be linked to other sites regarding activities and events they might be interested in (that they may not have ever gone to otherwise).  Alpine Township is proud of its agricultural heritage and its continued positive impact on our community. 

Bruce Barker

Elizabeth Morse-Gorski and Katherine Russell

Promoting the Ridge

REAP President Joe Klein (left)

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