Multi-species Rotationally Grazed Livestock Farm
Crane Dance Farm
4601 N. Johnson Road
Tuesday, June 18
4:00 - 7:00
Named for the Sandhill Cranes that make the farm their home each spring, Crane Dance Farm nestles among the rolling hills, woods, and wetlands of Middleville in Barry Country, Michigan ~ a perfect setting for a sustainable, regenerative, pasture-based farm. They raise GMO-free, pasture raised pork, turkeys and chicken eggs as well as 100% grassfed beef and lamb. And no sustainable, regenerative farm would be complete without honey bees, so raw honey is also part of their enterprise.
All of their cattle, pigs and lambs are bred, born and finished on their farm. They market their products on farm and at the Fulton Street Farmers Market and the Holland Farmers market, year round.
The farmers at Crane Dance, Jill Johnson and Mary Wills, are passionate about the connection of their farm to the heath of the planet, their livestock and people. They were the first farm in Michigan to be certified for pork by Animal Welfare Approved back in 2010, one of the most highly regarded animal welfare certifications. They believe that their farming philosophies and techniques (in stark contrast to the confinement life of factory farmed animals that are pumped full of chemicals and drugs to stay alive) are better for the earth, better for the animals, and, ultimately, better for the humans.
Directions: From Middleville, take Main St. east; this turns into State Rd. As State Rd. curves to the right about 1.8 mi. from town, you will turn left onto Barnum Rd. Follow Barnum Rd. 1.6 mi. to the fork in the road, which is Johnson Rd., and take the left fork. The farm is on your left in approximately 0.6 mi, just after the intersection with Black Creek Drive.
Compostponics and Vermicompost: New Perspectives
MSU Horticulture Teaching and Research Center
3291 College Road
Saturday, Aug. 24
3:00 - 6:00
This research and education site tour conducted by John Biernbaum will focus on: 1) methods of making compost specifically for organic growing in containers and raised beds, 2) growing vegetables and herbs in containers and raised beds, and 3) making vermicompost for fertility and microbiology.
Limited access to healthy soil and/or affordable growing media approved for organic growing in containers and raised beds limits gardening and farming in urban environments. Fortunately, readily available wood chips, leaves, hay, straw, coffee grounds and food-scraps can be composted to have the aeration, biology and fertility that make them suitable as a growing medium for organic production. We will demonstrate how to make it and grow in it.
Vermicompost is valued for nutrients and biology useful for soil health and crop protection. We have been successfully producing 15 to 20 cubic yards of vermicompost in a high tunnel for the last five years and are excited to demonstrate this simple method that does not require screening out the worms.
Directions: The Teaching and Research Center is very close to the intersection of I-96 and Rte. 127, but there's no exit from either road right there. The entrance is on the west side of College Rd. between Jolly Rd. and Sandhill Rd. From I-496, take Exit 11 and turn left (east) on Dunkel Rd. to the intersection at Collins Rd. Turn right (south) on Collins Rd. and left (east) on Jolly Rd. Turn right (south) on College Rd., and the Center is your first right after crossing over I-96. From the east, use the Okemos Road Exit 110 from I96. Travel north on Okemos Road to Jolly Road. Turn left (west) on Jolly. Travel to College Road and turn left (south).
Organic Vegetable, Mushroom, and Seed Production Farm
Nature & Nurture
7100 Marshall Road
Sunday August 18
2:00 - 5:00
Nature and Nurture LLC is an independent, organic-farm based, diversified business rooted in Michigan. The passionate and reputable team is purpose driven and shares their knowledge as well as their seeds.
For almost two decades, Erica Kempter and Mike Levine have operated a residential landscaping service and plant nursery in Ann Arbor, specializing in edible and native gardens, while also growing and marketing organic, log-grown shiitake mushrooms. Over time, they learned about corporate patenting and control of seeds, as well as the loss of Great Lakes heirloom seed diversity. In 2013, they moved to their current farm locations and founded Nature & Nurture Seeds to protect and promote open-source, biodiverse and regionally adapted seeds (see our website for more).
On this tour, discover an organic seed production farm in the Midwest region, plus experience their fruit orchard and see how they produce gourmet shiitake mushrooms.
Directions: Exit I-94 at Baker Rd (Exit 167). Head north about ½ mile. Turn right to head east on Marshall Rd and continue another ½ mile. Our farm is the second driveway on the left after the pavement ends.
Certified Organic Orchard, Grain, Produce, and Cut Flower Farm Tour and Workshops
Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill / Gateway Farm
10685 Warren Road
Thursday August 29
1:00 - 5:00
The afternoon will begin at the Plymouth Orchards Cider Mill (10685 Warren Road, Plymouth, MI 48170) with two great workshops: Production Scale Organic—Matt Sattelberg, Bay Shore Farms, and Harold Wilkens, Janie's Farm, will discuss larger scale organic grain, corn, soybean and dry bean farming and organic grain milling; John Edgerton will present the small grain trials (including upland rice) he has been conducting for the last few years on his farm in west central Michigan.
At 2 p.m. the farm tour will begin at Gateway Farm (10540 Joy Road, Plymouth, MI 48170) where farm manager Ben Kasmenn will guide a tour of the 8-acre certified organic vegetable farm that markets through a community supported agriculture program, wholesale, farmers markets, and on-site farmstand.
At 3 p.m., we will return to Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill on Warren Rd., a 100-acre certified organic apple orchard and farm that also grows small grains, raspberries, blackberries, asparagus, hay, and cover crops. The Plymouth Orchards owner, Mary Emmett, will greet everyone and lead a tour of the orchard and farm on hay wagons. During the tour, organic apple tree management, small grain production, multi-species cover crops, and cane berry management will be discussed.
During and after the farm tour, manager Alicia Estrada will take guest on a tour of the cider mill to see the organic processing of dried apples, cider making and donut production. They hope to show the cider press in action and share samples of some of the season's first cider with fresh donuts!
Directions: From Rte. 14, take the Gotfredson Rd. exit. Go south on Gotfredson Rd. approximately 1.8 mi. and turn left (east) on Warren Road. Proceed approximately 3/4 mi. to the Plymouth Orchards Red Shed Market entrance on your left.