In It Together
Eric Kampe –
Getting Started, Keeping Going – Day One | Length: 39:00 Organic no-till farmer Eric Kampe shares experiences and perspectives on launching a small farm enterprise with a focus on both personal values and farm economics.
Part 1 | Four Challenges for New Farmers | Length 17:11 Eric outlines the four main challenges that new farmers typically face: access to land, soil health, knowledge building, and connecting to markets. He then shares how no-till methods and direct marketing can help small-scale farm enterprises.
Part 2 | What to Grow and How to Sell It | Length 21:49 Eric describes how he and his farm co-owners evaluated their 2020 growing season in their diversified vegetable operation, followed by a discussion on the farm’s multi-channeled marketing strategy, including online sales and participation in St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor’s multi-farm CSA.
Getting Started, Keeping Going – Day Two | Length: 52:43 Organic no-till farmer Eric Kampe speaks to the practices that he and his farm partners have used to maintain the integrity and viability of small farm operations in their community.
Part 1 | Why Seeds? Why No-till? | Length 26:01 Eric describes his career transition into farming and why he chose seed cultivation to start. He details his transition into no-till practices as a way to reduce costs, mitigate risks, and improve crop performance, and how he and his fellow farmers at Green Things Farm Collective are scaling up.
Part 2 | Better Together | Length 14:49 What’s it take to build a farm operation based on a partnership model? Short answer: Trust. What are the tradeoffs, challenges and potential advantages? Eric discusses how and why he and his farmer co-owners came together to merge three different farms into one business entity.
Part 3 | Community is Key | Length 11:53 Community is essential to successful small farm operations, from knowledge sharing and networking to marketing. Eric describes the role of community in his own farming experience, and the ways Green Things Farm Collective overcame the challenges of 2020 to meet a surge in demand.
About Eric Kampe
Farmer Eric Kampe started out as an engineer after completing a degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. After working for several years in automotive and electrical engineering, in 2007, Eric began volunteering at Abbondanza Organic Seeds & Produce, a farm in Boulder, Colorado… more
Buy-Protect-Sell + Leadership = Saving the Aprill Farm
Barry Lonik –
Treemore Ecology and
Saving the Aprill Farm
When an exceptional piece of farmland became available in Scio Township, Michigan, longtime land conservation specialist Barry Lonik and township officials found a way to protect it through an innovative “Buy-Protect-Sell” transaction strategy. Barry details the synchronicities and forward-thinking community leadership that made it possible.
Barry Lonik has led the effort to establish the model farmland and natural area protection programs in Washtenaw County for nearly 30 years, some of the most successful in Michigan. Barry started the Legacy Land Conservancy and served as its first executive director for six and a half years, developing it into an effective, durable nonprofit organization.
Part 1 | Chance Favors the Prepared Mind | Length 35:39 Barry describes the events leading up to a precedent-setting land purchase by Michigan’s Scio Township, based on years of community support through land conservation millages and ongoing local partnerships. He also explains how conservation easements work to protect farmland and other greenspace land uses.
Part 2 | Different Roads, Same Destination / Make a Little Go a Long Way | Length 20:10 Barry starts off describing three different transactions used for land conservation that ultimately transferred land into the hands of farmers focused on regenerative ag practices. He then describes how funds generated by local land conservation millages can leverage outside funding, as well as some other creative ways to protect farmland.
Game Changer for Local Food Economy
Kathy Sample &
Argus Farm Stop
Next Generation Farmers Market
Imagine a year-round, 7-day farmers market that sells only locally produced foods. With the opening of Argus Farm Stop in 2014, Kathy Sample and Bill Brinkerhoff made that happen, creating a win-win for the whole community: Customers have convenient access to fresh local food supplied by over 200 producers while producers receive 75 cents on every dollar sold by Argus on consignment. Listen to Kathy and Bill share about the farm stop model, which is now being replicated in other communities.
About Kathy Sample & Bill Brinkerhoff
With the launch of Argus Farm Stop in 2014, Kathy Sample and Bill Brinkerhoff transformed their passion for local food into a community mission. Having subscribed to CSAs for years, the married co-founders wanted to find a way to strengthen area farms and bring healthy local food to consumers.
Cultivating a Healthy Community
Amanda Sweetman describes how a small farm on the hospital campus of Trinity Health St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor is having a big impact on food, medicine, community health, and local agriculture.
Cultivating relationships (in addition to vegetables, flowers, and hay), The Farm at Trinity Health features a CSA that connects people with fresh produce from local farms.
Note: During the production of this podcast, the name of the farm changed from The Farm at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor to The Farm at Trinity Health Ann Arbor.
About Amanda Sweetman
Amanda Sweetman graduated from the University of Michigan in 2007 with a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and from Utah State University in 2012 with an MS in wetland plant ecology. After working as a scientist, farmer, educator, and chef she landed her dream job as the Farm Manager at The Farm at Trinity Health Ann Arbor in 2015.