Speaker Bios

Organized alphabetically, by last name. 


Baker, Mark: Director of Technical Services, Cherry Central

Mark Baker studied public health and food safety at TUI and MSU, earning a Master's Degree in Health Science. After being a food inspector in the US Army, he proceeded to work in the food industry providing technical expertise to companies. Passionate about food, public health, and science made being a food scientist a natural fit. He currently is the Director of Technical Services for a large food company and owns a local food consulting company. He also enjoys working in public service and is a Park Commissioner for East Bay Township.       


Bates, Brian: Bear Creek Organic Farm

Brian Bates owns and operates Bear Creek Organic Farm in Petoskey, Michigan with his wife Anne Morningstar. Brian is passionate about small farm finances, making a living doing what you love, and savvy marketing. With no secrets, a lot of ideas, and some serious elbow-grease, Bear Creek has gone from $0 to $300k on 1.5 acres in less than four years.  


Brandt, Katie: MSU Student Organic Farm

Katie Brandt is the Educational Programs Manager at the MSU Student Organic Farm. She teaches the Organic Farmer Training Program, helps organize Farmer Field School and grows veggies at the SOF's year-round CSA. Katie has worked at many farms throughout Michigan and spent over a decade farming at Groundswell Farm in Zeeland, MI.


Brower, Aaron: Bluestem Farm

Along with his family, Aaron Brower owns Bluestem Farm, a diversified organic farm that offers build your own CSA memberships, community events, and food outreach programs. Learn more at www.bluestemfarm.net.



Bryan, Alex: University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program

Alex Bryan re-joined his alma mater in fall 2016 as the UM Sustainable Food Program Manager. UMSFP is a student-led umbrella organization designed to bring together student efforts to build a sustainable food system on campus. Alex is the founding board president of National Young Farmers Coalition, serves on the board of Michigan Food and Farming Systems, and helped found the food policy council of mid-Michigan. An AmeriCorps Alums National Leadership Award Winner, Alex is co-owner of Food Field, a 4 acre farm in the city of Detroit, and was recognized by Farm Credit Services as a Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives Honoree for FCS 100th anniversary for his work to bridge rural and urban agriculture.


Bunce, Shailah and Rowan: River Rock Farm

Shailah & Rowan Bunce have been farming for ten years in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They have been slowly incorporating specialty cut flowers for the past five years, now growing 2 acres of specialty cut flowers annuals and perennials. They grow 6,000 lilies in a season, harvesting 600 per month May through October.


Butz, Chris: Gills Pier Ranch

Chris and his wife Angie live on Gill’s Pier Ranch with their five children.  Both recovering attorneys, they honestly didn’t see themselves running an exotic livestock operation 20 years ago when they got married.  However, Chris has always had a love of animals and their training and part of the reason for their relocation to the area over 10 years ago was to live a slower, healthier and family-focused lifestyle. Chris received his undergraduate degree in Zoology with a concentration in Ecology from Michigan State.


Cary, Tom: Formerly MSU Student Organic Farm

After working for 13 years working in non-profit environmental and local food systems work Tom began experimenting with farming around 2006 running a small CSA, and raising meat and laying chickens. In 2009 I had the chance to become a farmer at Groundswell Community Farm, with his now wife Katie Brandt. They ran the farm until 2016 and is now in transition to new ownership. Tom’s background includes a love of the natural world, a BS in Chemistry, world travel & a Masters degree focused on local food systems. Tom recently ended 3 years work in Beginning Farmer education through the MSU Student Organic Farm. He is now a full-time dad & husband.


Charter, Kay: Saving Birds Thru Habitat

Twenty-five years ago, Kay and Jim Charter purchased a 47-acre tract of mixed habitat in Leelanau County where they established a safe haven for the feathered jewels they love. In the summer of 2001, Kay founded Saving Birds Thru Habitat. An award winning writer, Kay has presented programs to governments, libraries, colleges, and other groups across the country. In 2007, she presented a seminar to a standing room only crowd at the Zoological Society of San Diego’s Center for Conservation and Research for Endangered Species.  


Cohen, Ben: Small House Farm

Ben Cohen is the owner of Small House Farm, a sustainable homestead project in Sanford, Michigan, where he is an heirloom seed activist and educator. Ben travels the Midwest sharing his passion for seed saving while also sharing seeds with everyone that he meets! He has helped to open nearly two dozen seed libraries in his home state of Michigan and has grown seed crops commercially for Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, the Rare Vegetable Seed Consortium and Annie’s Heirloom Seeds.


Conners, Diane: Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities

Diane Conners is Senior Policy Specialist at Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities. She launched the organization’s work connecting schools and the health and wellness sectors to the positive benefits of locally grown food. An award-winning journalist, she writes about the crossroads between health, community and a local food economy, catalyzes ideas such as CSA Workplace Wellness initiatives through conference speakers and networking, and works on policy initiatives.


Coveyou, David: Coveyou Scenic Farm

David Coveyou is the owner and operator of 142-year-old Coveyou Scenic Farm in Petoskey where he grows certified organic vegetables with his wife and four children. His farm business and engineering backgrounds are part of his passions.


DeDecker, James: MSU Extension

James DeDecker is an Agriculture Educator with Michigan State University Extension, based in Presque Isle County and is responsible for field crop outreach across eleven counties in Northeast Lower Michigan. Since joining MSU Extension in 2012, he has drawn on his background in crop production, integrated pest management and the human dimensions of natural systems to serve Michigan producers and agribusiness through partnership building, on-farm research and educational programming.  


Dykema, September: September's Herbs and Produce

September Dykema is the Owner and Operator of September's Herbs and Produce LLC, providing local & sustainably grown flowers for our wholesale clients in the West Michigan area. September’s Herbs and Produce LLC specializes in early season floral products for florists, wedding/event planners & local grocery stores.


Ernst, Janae: Providence Farm

Janae Ernst is a yoga teacher, scientist, and small farm volunteer. She received her 200-hour certification from Prairie Yoga in Lisle, IL and served as a mentor in their teacher training program for three years. Her areas of interest within yoga include biomechanics, safe practices for aging populations, and yoga for chronic pain. Outside of yoga, she holds a Master’s degree in Physics and works for the Chemical and Materials Science group at Argonne National Laboratory.


Evans, Ellie & Matt: Pitchfork Farm

Matt and Ellie Evans operate Pitchfork Farms in Petoskey, where they live with their four children. Their farm started a few years ago with raw milk herd-shares but in the last two years has expanded to include pastured, non-gmo chicken and eggs. This year they processed approximately 1300 chickens together on the farm. They have continued to expand the farm and will open next year as a u-pick farm offering strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and saskatoons.


Fletcher, Grant: Bronson Healthcare Group

Grant has been a leader with Bronson Healthcare Group for 10 years, overseeing food & nutrition services, retail operations, athletic clubs, sustainability, and employee wellness. As a leader at Bronson Healthcare Group, Fletcher has been a champion of the organizations local sourcing initiative, leading the Food & Nutrition Department in their charge to source 60% of food supplies from local and regional growers and producers. At present, Bronson Methodist Hospital sources better than 40% of its food from more 50+ local vendors, infusing over $1,000,000 into the Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan economies.

Fraleigh, Michael: Fraleigh Law

Michael Fraleigh specializes in Farm Business Planning, Estate & Trust Planning, and Asset Protection. Michael grew up on a fourth generation family farm and has a unique understanding of the financial and legal issues facing farmers and ranchers and the need to protect their families from legal predators. He draws on more than 33 years’ experience to provide his clients with solutions that ensure their business goals are achieved while protecting the health and well-being of their families.


Friedham, Denae: MSU Student Organic Farm

Denae received her Bachelor's degree in Biology and Sociology in 2005. After a three year stint in Public Health research, Denae discovered a different side of preventive medicine—food production. In 2011 Denae started Foodshed Farm, a sustainable agriculture business that specialized in growing seedlings for local farmers, specialty produce for local restaurants, CSA, and farmers’ market customers, and consulting with other small scale growers. After four years of running Foodshed, she came to the Student Organic Farm as the Production Manager in 2015. She became the Farm Manager in 2016 and is now the Interim Director.


Garr, Natalie: USDA Rural Development

Natalie Garr is a Business Programs Technician for USDA Rural Development. She has been with the agency for over three years, working out of the East Lansing state office. She has assisted with a variety of Federal loans and grants, specializing in the Renewable Energy for America Program and the Value- Added Producer Grant.


Geurkink, Sarah: MSU Student Organic Farm

After studying Business and International Development in college, Sarah intended to spend just one season as a farmworker at Groundswell Community Farm in Zeeland, Michigan. She stayed on as a manager of Groundswell for two more years, at which point she decided pursue a career in farming. In 2013, Sarah became the manager of the University of Washington Student Farm in Seattle. Earlier this year Sarah, joined the MSU Student Organic Farm as the Production Manager, managing the farm's growing systems, wholesale accounts, and crew members.


Hanel, Rob: TentCraft

Rob is manager at TentCraft which is a manufacturer of custom U.S. made marketing and promotional tents located in Traverse City, MI. His professional career has been spent mostly in Human Resources focused on Recruiting and Employee Engagement at some of the most discerning outdoor retail brands in the world. These opportunities allowed him the pleasure of living in many places. In 2016, he moved home with his now wife to start their own family; there is no where else in the world they would rather be to do that.


Hartman, Ben: The Lean Farm

Ben Hartman is the author of The Lean Farm, winner of the prestigious Shingo Award, and The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables, published in 2017. He and his wife Rachel Hershberger own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, where they make their living on less than one acre growing and selling specialty produce to restaurants, at a farmers market, and through two multi-farm CSAs. Hartman was appointed to the 2017 Grist 50, a list of emerging green leaders in the United States.

Homer, Eldon. 

Bio & photo coming soon. 


Jacke, Dave: Edible Forest Gardens

Dave Jacke—primary author of the award-winning two-volume book Edible Forest Gardens—began studying ecology and design in the 1970s. Since 1984, his firm Dynamics Ecological Design has designed and built landscapes, homes, farms, and communities across the U.S. and overseas. An energetic and creative educator, he holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a Land Use Planning minor from Simon’s Rock College and a M.A. in Landscape Design from the Conway School of Landscape Design. Dave is now working with co-author Mark Krawczyk on the forthcoming book Coppice Agroforestry: Regenerative Silviculture for the 21st Century while homesteading in Montague, MA.


Jacobs, Chris: Oryana

Chris has been in the produce business for about 20 years. He started delivering produce in Flagstaff, AZ and worked as a stocker and assistant manager in the produce department at Wild Oats in Oregon. Chris ended up moving to Elk Rapids to start a family and has been at Oryana Community Coop for the last 14 years as the produce manager.


Jean, Monica: MSU Extension

Monica Jean, Field Crop Extension Educator for MSU Extension, has experience conducting both on-farm and small plot research with field crops. Monica services the Delta County area and provides help to local farmers. Her role in Extension is to provide the local farming community with scientific, unbiased information helping them improve their agronomic practices.


Over the last 5 years Simon Joseph has taken his form of American comfort food from food truck to restaurant. The roaming Harvest food truck hit the streets in 2012 with the idea of offering quick affordable meals made from locally sourced ingredients. In 2014 riding on the success of Roaming Harvest he then opened Harvest in downtown TC which lead to an expanded menu that patrons could enjoy year round. Simons most recent venture Gaijin opened in the summer of 2016. Offering Japanese comfort foods such as ramen, dumplings, and rice bowls Gaijin is where “east meets midwest” and Joseph continues to combine ethnic comfort foods with local ingredients.


Kapp, Christian: MSU Extension

For more than a decade, Christian has been involved in grain research and outreach. Duties have included plot design, site preparation, plot layout, planting, overall plot maintenance, data collection, harvesting, lab analysis, statistical summary, and report writing. Kapp delivers final research results and general small grain performance observations to growers and other stakeholders at conferences and field days.  


Kitscher, Andre: Peaceful Valley Farm

Andre is owner and grower of Peaceful Valley Farm, a small, diverse, all natural farm specializing in vegetables, meat, eggs, and honey. They strive to produce high quality fresh products using organic practices and non-GMO feed.


Klingenberger, David: The Brinery

Founder and CFO (Chief Fermenting Officer) of the Brinery, David’s life is a ballad of land and sea. His love of fermentation began in the fertile fields of Southeastern Michigan's own Tantré Farm, where as a young man at the turn of the century (1999), he preserved an abundance of cabbage with his first ever batch of sauerkraut. Passing many years in Tantré furrows, as well as sailing between growing seasons, David eventually founded the Brinery in the summer of 2010. As a business owner, David embraces the connection between good health and fermentation, a sailor guiding his probiotic business ship though the seas and guts of others.


Lively, Kelly: Cherry Capital Foods

Kelly Lively leads policy and outreach for Cherry Capital Foods, a food hub serving 40+ farms. She developed CCF’s farm to institution program, is lead organizer of the Michigan Apple Crunch, is a member of the Michigan Farm to Institution Advisory Committee, is actively involved in the newly formed Michigan Food Hub practitioners group, finding synergies between food hubs. She is also actively working to build the Michigan Group GAP Network for farmers and is a passionate activist on the intersection of climate change and agriculture.


May, Sharron: The May Farm

Sharron May is a Benzie County business owner and farmer's wife with a passion for bringing local food to the family dinner table as well as community decision tables. Sharron currently serves as Vice Chair of the NW Michigan Food and Farming Network and Taste the Local Difference’s Farm To Resource Coordinator.


McMurray, Ben: Hill Valley Farm

Ben McMurray, along with his wife Brittany, owns and operates a small farm and homestead between Charlevoix and Petoskey. Though a majority of their modest fruit, vegetable, chicken and egg production is for friends and family, they are entering their third year of selling heritage breed pork shares. They come from the viewpoint of part-time producers and how best to optimize the limited time, capital and infrastructure at one’s disposal.


Monroe, Fred & Michele: Monroe Family Organics

Fred and Michele Monroe own and operate Monroe Family Organics, a diversified organic vegetable farm in Alma, MI. Fred has been growing vegetables for nearly twenty years, and Michele joined him in their own farm operation after the birth of their first child. They have been farming together for seven years, during which time they've learned a lot about how to successfully run a farm, a family, a household, and a large CSA together without going crazy.


Mohgtader, Jeremy: University of Michigan Campus Farm

Jeremey works with students, faculty and staff developing the UM Campus Farm as a living learning laboratory for hands on food systems education and research, student leadership development, and year round food production for UM Dining. Prior to joining UM in late 2016 Jeremy was the Director of Programs for the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm, where he also served for 10 years as Farm Manager. In addition, Jeremy was the co-developer and chair the Food System Economic Partnership’s Farm to School Committee.


Morgan, Brad: Morgan Composting

Twenty years ago, suffering from a manure management problem, Brad decided to look for alternative ways to dispose of residuals on his 200 head dairy farm. After many struggles, Brad and his father Dale created a signature compost that we know today as DAIRY DOO®. Looking for ways to diversify, to continually create better quality composts for farms and homeowners, Brad took his business to the next level with potting mediums, his newest venture into the liquid amendment world. Morgan Composting, Inc. is now a sound business, and employs 30 full time positions, and 5 seasonal positions.


Morningstar, Anne: Bear Creek Organic Farm

Anne Morningstar owns and operates Bear Creek Organic Farm with her husband, Brian Bates, in Petoskey, Michigan. An instructor of design at North Central Michigan College, Anne is the marketing and design mastermind at Bear Creek Organic Farm. With a camera always by her side, she has built a significant social media presence and online following for the farm, translating “likes” and “shares” into real sales and customers. A believer in the power of storytelling, Anne helps other farmers and business owners find their voice and share their stories.


Morrison, Bobbie: USDA Rural Development

Bobbie Morrison is a Business Program Specialist for USDA Rural Development, a Federal Agency serving the needs of rural Michigan residents through financial and technical assistance including direct loans, grants and guaranteed loans.She is in the Rural Business Program Division specializing in several loan and grant programs to a variety of businesses and organizations, as well as the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grants to farmers and rural small businesses. Over the years, she has assisted with the processing of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loans and grants to private industry, non-profit groups and public entities through Michigan.


Morrone, Vicki: MSU Extension

Morrone has been with Michigan State University since 2002. She is a member of the Center for Regional Food Systems and focuses on organic production systems and on-farm research assisting farmers to address the needs of their soil and meet organic system needs. She is passionate about helping farmers visualize their needs through on-farm assessments and working with farmers to see new possibilities. Her work takes her to Michigan and Eastern Africa. Morrone has a Master of Science in Plant Pathology and Extension Services from Penn State University.


Palmer, Abbey: MSU North Farm

Abbey Palmer works in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she has been teaching people about the connections between food, health, and local economies for the past six years. As the education coordinator at the North Farm, she works with people of all ages who are curious about where their food comes from and want to learn more about how it is produced.


Peterson, Eric: The Fresh Palate

Eric was born and raised in Alpena, MI. He completed the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Program in Portland in 2001. As a part of that program, Eric completed an externship with the Michelin-rated Jardinière Restaurant in San Francisco. He moved back to Alpena, initially working for the Court Yard Ristorante, localizing their menu as much as possible. This passion of his eventually blossomed into The Fresh Palate in 2009, of which Eric is the owner and Head Chef.  They serve unique New American plates utilizing as many locally sourced and organic ingredients as possible.



Phelps, Tricia: Taste the Local Difference

Tricia Phelps is the CEO of Taste the Local Difference (TLD). She co-owns a hop farm in Cedar, MI and has several years experience managing local farmers markets. Tricia lead the development of TLD’s CSA Worksite Wellness Pilot Program in 2017; matchmaking farms to employers in northwest lower Michigan. This program is set to expand across the state in the coming year.


Ponone, Maria: Grain Train Natural Food Markets

For 25 years Maria have been in the natural food industry. During her time at the Grain Train she has worked with local farms to develop packaging solutions for wholesaling to retail. It is an exciting time with local in the spotlight.


Rigan, Laura: Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy

Laura develops and implements GTRLC's farmland protection programs, both internal programs and as a contractor to units of government. This includes coordinating the efforts of landowners, units of government, public and private funders to permanently protect farmland using various conservation tools. She also assists in the development of Farmer to Farmer (F2F), a farmlink website serving the Grand Traverse Region in Northwest Lower Michigan that is designed to connect farmland owners who wish to sell or lease farmland with farmland seekers looking to buy or lease farmland.


Romeyn, Andrea: Providence Organic Farm

Andrea, Ryan, and team grow organic vegetables on over 20 acres, organic strawberries on 1 acre, and raise approximately 30 Idaho Pasture Pigs each year, 30 Belted Galloway beef cattle, and 50 Katahdin lamb, (with the help of 1 working Border Collie named Blue). Farm products are marketed through CSA, farmers markets and wholesale markets in northern Michigan.  Andrea enjoys communicating with CSA members, hosting tours, and community classes at the farm... especially focusing on the joy of eating well to feel amazing.


Romeyn, Ryan: Providence Organic Farm

Ryan, Andrea and team grow organic vegetables on over 20 acres, organic strawberries on 1 acre, and raise approximately 30 Idaho Pasture Pigs each year, 30 Belted Galloway beef cattle, and 50 Katahdin lamb, (with the help of 1 working Border Collie named Blue). Farm products are marketed through CSA, farmers markets and wholesale markets in northern Michigan.  Ryan's focus is on developing and maintaining healthy, living soils to grow plants in, and raising happy animals.


Ross, Kama: District Forester, Leelanau, Benzie, Grand Traverse Conservation District

Kama Ross began as a Forester at the Forestry Assistance Program for Leelanau, Benzie and Grand Traverse Conservation Districts in October 2013. Prior to this position, Kama most recently served as the FAP Forester for Wexford and Missaukee Conservation Districts and earlier in her career for Otsego County.  She also enjoyed a career as an outdoor and environmental educator at Kettunen Center, Michigan’s 4-H Conference Center in Tustin.  

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Schulte, Mike: Narrow Gate Farm

Along with a full time job at the Alpena, MI CRTC, Mike comes home to manage the general maintenance of the farm and skillfully executes the rotational grazing system incorporated into our management practices. He is THE fence, hay, water, tractor, and finance guy! And on occasion, available to help pull a calf too.

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Schulte, Stephani: Narrow Gate Farm

A student of both the MSU Grazing school and the three year SARE Grant Grass Finishing study, attended the Graham School for Cattlemen Garnet, Kansas, currently owns and operates a 100% forage based, small, closed beef and dairy herd with Certified Naturally Grown designation, currently a student of NCMC with a journalism concentration, and married to the best farm hand, fence guy, and farm partner ever!


Scrimger, Joe: BioSystems

Joe has farmed organically since 1975, has attended and instructed numerous educational programs on Organic & Biological Farming across the US & Canada, and is the owner of Bio-Systems, a soil testing and consulting business with holistic whole farm management.



Shackelford, Michelle: Leelanau Specialty Cut Flowers

Michelle Shackelford has been flower farming for five years. She owns Leelanau Specialty Cut Flowers in Cedar, Michigan. She studied Landscape and Nursery through MSU and NMC. Flower gardening has been her lifelong passion, so growing flowers for a living has been a dream come true.



Sheick, Kalin: Sweetwater Lavender Farm and Stems & Sprigs Floral Design

Kalin Sheick owns Stems & Sprigs Floral Design and Sweetwater Lavender Farm, both based in Petoskey. After leaving a career in TV News to pursue a love of flowers and an 'obsession' with lavender, she now flowers for an average of 50 weddings annually and hosts on farm workshops & events. When not writing on her blog, she's hosting dinner parties & swimming in the lake.


Shields, Joshua: District Forester, Manistee, Mason-Lake Conservation Districts    

Josh Shields received his B.S. in Applied Ecology and Environmental Science from Michigan Technological University, a M.S. in Forest Ecology and Management from Michigan Technological University, and a Ph.D. in Forestry from Purdue University. Josh is a Certified Forester with the Society of American Foresters, Certified Wildlife Biologist with The Wildlife Society, and a Certified Commercial Pesticide Applicator with Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. In October 2014, Josh was hired as a Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) forester for the Manistee and Mason-Lake Conservation Districts.


Studier, Julie: Organic Apple Orchard

Julie Studier, along with her husband Michael, bought the last 15 acres of Tower Hill Farm in Sodus in December 2006, which included 6-1/2 acres of neglected apple orchard. Over five years, the orchard was topped and pruned, while restoring and transitioning it and surrounding acres. In 2009, they completed the MAEAP verification, and in 2010, the farm earned organic certification.


Smith, Evan: Alden Services

Evan Smith has over 35 years experience in international and domestic food systems and logistics. He recently left his position as the Executive Director of Policy and Outreach at Cherry Capital Foods to form a food system consulting business, Alden Services. Prior to that he spent 7 years as its CEO and 8 years as the VP and CFO of Food for Thought, a specialty food manufacturer. He has spoken nationally and internationally on community food systems, including developing the value chain module for the University of Vermont Food Hub Management Program. He currently serves on the Traverse City Food and Farm Network, the Grand Traverse Foodshed Alliance, Michigan Food & Farming Systems, and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.


Snapp, Seig: Michigan State University

Dr. Sieglinde Snapp is a professor at MSU whose research focuses on understanding the principles of resilient cropping system design and biologically-based soil management. This includes investigating the multi-functional role of accessory crops such as cover crops in mediating nutrient efficiency, soil function and healthy crop roots. Predicting nutrient availability and tradeoffs between mineralization and assimilation processes are important questions her research group and collaborators address in organic and sustainable production systems.


Stawara, Allison: MSU North Farm

Allison Stawara is assistant Production Manager at The North Farm, part of the MSU Upper Peninsula Research Extension Center. She holds a degree in sustainable agriculture from Michigan State University and has worked on several Michigan farms. She can be found starting seeds and pruning tomatoes.   


Stepanski, Molly and Dion: Presque Isle Farms

Molly and Dion Stepanski both manage and operate all aspects of Presque Isle Farm, a small certified organic diversified vegetable farm in Posen, Michigan. Deemed a Centennial Farm by the Michigan Historical Society, this homestead has been with the same family for over 100 years. In 2014, they began working to transform the land into a thriving market vegetable farm. Molly and Dion presently dedicate a total of 3 acres to the business, with just under 9,000 square feet of season extension high tunnel growing space and an additional 20+ acres available for future use. They supply farmers’ markets, local schools through the Hoophouses for Health program, and restaurants and grocers in Alpena, Tawas City, and Mackinac Island.


Theisen, Nic: Loma Farm

Nicolas Theisen owns and manages Loma Farm, a small-scale vegetable and flower farm in Southern Leelanau County. Loma grows following organic practices with a deep concern for the health of the land and a love of high quality produce.  We supply area restaurants, attend farmer's market and distribute weekly through our vegetable share program. 70 percent of our sales are to restaurants and local grocers.


Thompson, Collin: MSU North Farm

Collin Thompson is a Community Food Systems Educator with MSU Extension and manages The North Farm, part of the MSU Upper Peninsula Research Extension Center. His experience is in four season production of certified organic produce.



Ware, Bernie: Ware Farm

Bernie Ware and his wife Sandee own and operate Ware Farm.  Bernie is an agricultural generalist with a lifetime of strawberry experiences and encounters.



Wertz-Roth, Brenin

Brenin Wertz-Roth is a farmer and builder based out of Traverse City. After years of work in the nursery and market farm world, he is starting his second season developing an educational research farm focused on selecting and breeding plant varieties for the Northern Michigan region. Through the practice of trialing, seed saving and breeding, he is hoping to deepen the local food culture and help growers adapt to the region. The yet to be named project is based on land at the historic barns of the old State Hospital.


Wiswall, Richard: The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook

Richard Wiswall is owner/operator of Cate Farm in East Montpelier, Vermont, where he has been farming organically for over 35 years. Known for his work on farm profitability and appropriate business tools, he has consulted with over 90 farmers in New England, helping them increase profitability and meet their long term goals. Richard is author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook: A Complete guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff- and Making a Profit, and gives workshops frequently on the subject of farm business. To learn more about Richard and Cate Farm, visit www.catefarm.com.


Wright, Nathan: Herbal Lodge

Nathan is a Sault Tribe member, certified mushroom expert and comes from a long line of Anishinabek medicine people. A former veteran, Nathan traveled world to protect his country and now finds himself protecting Mother Earth. Nathan embarks on a weekly journey, to take part in an adventure searching and rediscovering forgotten Native American herbal / mushroom medicines. He is currently writing a book on Native American Medicinals.

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