The farmers’ market stalls are overflowing with produce and your garden is producing more tomatoes than you can handle. What to do? Lock in peak nutrition and summer flavor and try your hand at basic food preservation! Your taste buds will welcome the hint of summer during the colder months.
Like many first generation farmers, Joannée DeBruhl came to agriculture in a roundabout way. After being laid off, Joannée and a few friends started a community garden to benefit Gleaner’s Community Food Bank. The success of this project ignited Joannée’s deep passion for agriculture and her desire to become a full-time farmer. Recognizing her need for a more formal agricultural education, Joannée enrolled in the MSU Student Organic Farms’ Organic Farmer Training Program (OFTP) in 2010. In the OFTP, she spent 9 months immersing herself in the nuances of growing healthy, organic plants and running a farm business.
On the edge of Ann Arbor, at the Tillian Farm Development Center, dark leafy greens and crisp, flavorful salad mixes are artfully tended by Hannah Rose Webber. A first generation farmer, Hannah is in her third season cultivating crops as The Land Loom. She currently rents 1.5 acres at Tillian where she follows organic practices to produce high quality greens and summer fruits (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc.).
Did you know that farmers receive only 17 cents per retail sales dollar (on average) when their food is sold through traditional channels? The remaining 83 cents of this dollar goes to middlemen, distributors, and other players in the food system. Selling direct to consumer (farmers markets, roadside stands, CSA programs, etc.) generates higher margins for farmers (and strengthens consumer’s ties to their food) but can come with its own set of unique challenges and risks: unfavorable weather impacting sales, large time/energy demands, lack of convenience, and seasonality.
The Oakland County Farmers’ Market has been bringing good food to Oakland County for nearly 100 years. Originally located in downtown Pontiac, the market first opened in 1922. Thirty one years later (1953), the market moved to its current location a few miles away in Waterford. The market still exists in this location and is currently operated by Oakland County Parks and Recreation.
Over 14% of the population is food insecure in the 11 SE Michigan counties TLD serves. In the heart of Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town District, a unique coffee and tap house is helping to change that.
Cultivate Coffee and Tap House opened their doors in 2015 with the mission to end hunger (locally and globally) by 2030 and do good in their community and the world. To accomplish this mission, the non-profit focuses on the core values of Craft, Community, Cause.
Walk into Essence on Main in Clarkston and you’ll find yourself engulfed in a cloud of delicious smells: freshly brewed Bourbon Pecan Torte Coffee, warm organic ginger molasses cookies (shh! The recipe is a secret!), or the grilled buttery goodness of the Turkey Loves Cherry sandwich (hungry yet?).
The MSU Student Organic Farm (SOF) began as a student project and has grown into a 15-acre, year-round teaching and production farm. The farm is certified organic and utilizes a combination of passive solar greenhouses (hoophouses) and outdoor field production to grow a variety of fresh produce year-round. Production is carried out by the SOF and OFTP (Organic Farmer Training Program) Staff and dedicated students, the SOF farm crew, and wonderful volunteers. The farm also collaborates with MSU faculty to create learning opportunities for other students at MSU through courses in organic farming, interdisciplinary experiential educational activities, and research opportunities.
Spring peepers, rain storms, crocus and daffodils. Spring has sprung! Soon, it will be time to turn over the soil and get your vegetable garden planted. Having a vegetable garden is a great way to provide yourself with affordable access to fresh food and reap many other positive health benefits!
If you’re looking for a easy way to consistently access local food, consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.