MIDNIGHT-My mind is racing: guilds, broad forks, lettuce pickers, giant squash, Golden Rule Farm, Pigstock, Filling the Freezer, Farm to Freezer, Food Rescue, Food and Farming Network. I can’t stop thinking about tonight’s visit to 9 Bean Rows Farm.
It was my second Twilight Tour and I’m beginning to see patterns: New farmers connecting with experienced farmers; urban farmers connecting with rural farmers; all farmers connecting with organizations that support their work.
Brenda was there representing ISLAND. She told us about her organization, explained the concept of guilds, and told us they’re strong in the Little Traverse Bay region but there’s an opportunity to strengthen them in the Grand Traverse area.
Nick, owner of 9 Bean Rows, talked about what he grows, crop damage due to the recent storm, his business model, renting farm land, farm to school, and his long-term vision of turning lower elementary students into healthy eaters and future farmers. We explored his Suttons Bay farm, planted in root crops and kale for late-season harvest. Then we moved on to Nick’s Omena acreage where he discussed regenerating the soil, his favorite tools, picking before sunrise, and irrigation.
The group wandered off, leaving me to chat with Vince, who recently acquired his grandfather’s farm. Although he was raised in the area, he and his wife only recently returned from west of the Rockies. He told me about his sandy soil and wonders how he will improve it. Vince also wants to start a nonprofit, and he wondered what needs are not being met in the community. He plans to raise pigs and wondered how he might learn to butcher them. So I told him about Craig Schaaf, Pigstock, Goodwill programs, next week’s 4-H livestock auction, and the Food and Farming Network.
The tour went an hour beyond the allotted time, and Nick was still surrounded by his
guests with so many questions yet to be answered. Connections of many sorts were being made, and true to the name of the event, the light of day was fading away.
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