Farm News

Posted 1/19/2010 4:00pm by Trent Thompson.

From the New Yorker...

Does Whole Foods’ C.E.O. know what’s best for you?

by Nick Paumgarten

John Mackey at a store in Austin, Texas. To “the people that really dislike us,” he says, “Whole Foods is a big corporation, so they think that we’ve crossed over to the dark side.” Photograph by Dan Winters.

JANUARY 4, 2010

John Mackey at a store in Austin, Texas. To “the people that really dislike us,” he says, “Whole Foods is a big corporation, so they think that we’ve crossed over to the dark side.” Photograph by Dan Winters.

John Mackey, the co-founder and chief executive of Whole Foods Market, refers to the company as his child—not just his creation but the thing on earth whose difficulties or downfall it pains him most to contemplate. He also sees himself as a “daddy” to his fifty-four thousand employees, who are known as “team members,” but they may occasionally consider him to be more like a crazy uncle. To the extent that a child inherits or adopts a parent’s traits, Whole Foods is an embodiment of many of Mackey’s. A Whole Foods store, in some respects, is like Mackey’s mind turned inside out. Certainly, the evolution of the corporation has often traced his own as a man; it has been an incarnation of his dreams and quirks, his contradictions and trespasses, and whatever he happened to be reading and eating, or not eating.

Continued here.

Posted 1/19/2010 3:56pm by Trent Thompson.

I have a dream. . . of health.

I have a dream that all children around the nation are taught by their families and schools how to eat real food and not junk, so they grow up healthy and strong.

I have a dream that we stop polluting and destroying our nation's environment to make processed, chemicalized food, and instead start raising and growing our food in a way that enhances the environment as well as promotes health.

I have a dream that you and your family will overcome persistent health issues, be it fatigue, weight, or more serious concerns, and live in complete health and balance together.

As we commemorate today the birthday of one of history's great leaders and teachers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I ask you to look inside and ask yourself. . .
What is YOUR dream for the world, for America, for your own and your family's health? What impact do you want to make?
Posted 1/8/2010 8:08pm by Trent Thompson.
June 30, 2008, 8:50 AM
beets cabbage
Maybe you should be eating more beets, left, or chopped cabbage. (Credit: Evan Sung for The New York Times, left

(This post was originally published on June 30, 2008, and recently appeared on The New York Times’s list of most-viewed stories for 2009.)

Nutritionist and author Jonny Bowden has created several lists of healthful foods people should be eating but aren’t. But some of his favorites, like purslane, guava and goji berries, aren’t always available at regular grocery stores. I asked Dr. Bowden, author of “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” to update his list with some favorite foods that are easy to find but don’t always find their way into our shopping carts. Here’s his advice.

  1. Beets: Think of beets as red spinach, Dr. Bowden said, because they are a rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters.
    How to eat: Fresh, raw and grated to make a salad. Heating decreases the antioxidant power.
  2. Cabbage: Loaded with nutrients like sulforaphane, a chemical said to boost cancer-fighting enzymes.
    How to eat: Asian-style slaw or as a crunchy topping on burgers and sandwiches.
  3. Swiss chard: A leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes.
    How to eat it: Chop and saute in olive oil. 
Read rest of article here.
Posted 1/7/2010 11:40am by Trent Thompson.
Hello All:

Greetings from Missouri. I just spent some time in Kansas meeting some of my in-laws who have a 1,000 acre farm, raising cows (for dairy operations) and growing field crops such as soybeans, corn, wheat, milo, alfalfa. Recently, they have begun dabbling with organic soybeans. Very nice, warm people and I found the Flint Hills of Kansas to be extroardinarily beautiful, the landscape was open and vast and had amazing curvature. Hopefully, it will be a bit warmer and greener next time I visit. Windchill temperatures were frequently below zero.

Planning for 2010 continues daily. The seed order will be finalized within the next couple weeks. Crop rotation maps will be drawn out soon, and official seed starting will begin for the early tomato crop in mid-February.

Here are some recent events/developments that you may find of interest:
  • CSA Member, Chelsie Downs, will be giving a nutrition class for that is "designed to provide cutting-edge nutrition happier and more fulfilling life—all year around." It will be at the YMCA Maple Branch in Kzoo weekly from 1/7-2/18. Topics covered include: nutrrition concepts, modern health issues, meal planning, supermarket field trip, cooking classes and samples. Register at or YMCA member service desk. $45 members, $60 non-members.
  • Circle Pines in Delton will be hosting a soap-making workshop 1/22-1/24. Learn how to make goat's milk soap with homesteader Marge Perrin of Kay-Ems Farm. This two-day workshop includes a lecture, hands-on small-group instruction and materials. Saturday will be spent hand-crafting soap, using the cold-process method. On Sunday, Marge will show you how to make other goat's milk products, such as cheese, fudge or lotion. You will take home several soap samples. There also will be plenty of time to relax around the wood stoves, sauna by the lake, take a walk or go cross-country skiing--weather permitting. Workshop with two lunches $85. Overnight (includes lodging and 4 meals) $115. Full weekend (includes lodging and 5 meals) $155. Contact
  • A small-farming conference will be in Battle Creek at Lakeview High School on 1/16. “Holding on to Good Food, Good Families, Good Farms” is the theme for the 7th annual Michigan Family Farms Conference on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek. Come learn how small, family farms are shaping Michigan’s diverse agricultural future, discuss challenges and growth opportunities for these growing farms and get information on how to overcome challenges and take advantage of these open doors. There will be presenations on crop growing, marketing, urban gardening, pollinators, bioenergy, etc. Serious gardeners may also enjoy the conference. $30. Register here.
  • The Urban Farming/Community Gardening in BC meeting now has a date and time! Here are the details: 1/27 at 6-8:30 PM at the BC Math and Science Center in Springfield, 765 Upton Avenue. From Jeremy Andrews: Join other passionate people in your community who want to promote healthy food options for ALL residents of the Greater BC Area. Farmers, backyard tenders, foodies, entrepreneurs, eco-geeks, and conservation connoissurs unite to take back the land for food by the people. Please bring your own cup and place setting. Contact Jeremy at 269-832-0777 or get on the e-mail list at
  • The farm has established a relationship with a new restaurant in Downtown Kalamazoo, Rustica. The restaurant features food from Italy, France, and Spain. The duck I had last month with parsnips and Michigan cherries was mouth-watering! Here is the article from the Gazette.
  • The farm still has a few openings for the 2010 CSA. Letters will be going out in 2-3 weeks with 2010 membership details to 2009 members who have confirmed that they would like to continue membership in 2010, and to those who have asked to be placed on the 2010 list over the past year. Contact if you are interested in the 2010 CSA. Here are the 2010 CSA details.
Ok, I think that is all for now. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Hope you are all having a great Winter and I will see you in the Spring!

Best wishes, Trent

Posted 1/1/2010 8:11pm by Trent Thompson.
By David Whitford, editor at large 


DETROIT (Fortune) -- John Hantz is a wealthy money manager who lives in an older enclave of Detroit where all the houses are grand and not all of them are falling apart. Once a star stockbroker at American Express, he left 13 years ago to found his own firm. Today Hantz Financial Services has 20 offices in Michigan, Ohio, and Georgia, more than 500 employees, and $1.3 billion in assets under management.

Twice divorced, Hantz, 48, lives alone in clubby, paneled splendor, surrounded by early-American landscapes on the walls, an autograph collection that veers from Detroit icons such as Ty Cobb and Henry Ford to Baron von Richthofen and Mussolini, and a set of Ayn Rand first editions.

With a net worth of more than $100 million, he's one of the richest men left in Detroit -- one of the very few in his demographic who stayed put when others were fleeing to Grosse Pointe and Bloomfield Hills. Not long ago, while commuting, he stumbled on a big idea that might help save his dying city.

Every weekday Hantz pulls his Volvo SUV out of the gated driveway of his compound and drives half an hour to his office in Southfield, a northern suburb on the far side of Eight Mile Road. His route takes him through a desolate, postindustrial cityscape -- the kind of scene that is shockingly common in Detroit.

Along the way he passes vacant buildings, abandoned homes, and a whole lot of empty land. In some stretches he sees more pheasants than people. "Every year I tell myself it's going to get better," says Hantz, bright-eyed, with smooth cheeks and a little boy's carefully combed haircut, "and every year it doesn't."

Then one day about a year and a half ago, Hantz had a revelation. "We need scarcity," he thought to himself as he drove past block after unoccupied block. "We can't create opportunities, but we can create scarcity." And that, he says one afternoon in his living room between puffs on an expensive cigar, "is how I got onto this idea of the farm."

Cont. here.

Posted 12/22/2009 9:30pm by Trent Thompson.
Hello All:

If any of you in the BC/Kzoo area have 1-2 acres of property that you might be willing to rent to a farmer, please contact Kelly Vallelunga (photo below) at

Kelly worked part-time at Green Gardens in 2009 and I can personally attest that she would make a fine farmer and use the property in a responsible manner. 

Ideally, the property would have at least 1-2 tillable acres, have access to water, and have a house on the property. It would be used for vegetable and flower production using organic methods.

I realize many of you may not have property or might not want to rent it, but I thought sending an e-mail off to the mailing list was worth a shot!

Have a great Holiday!

Best, Trent

Posted 12/16/2009 7:11pm by Trent Thompson.

Greetings All (Especially Battle Creek folk):

Over the past few weeks I have been excited to learn of a growing and well-organized movement to start
community farms/gardens here in Battle Creek. Growth of such a movement would have a profound, transformative effect on the city in many ways. 

It would first and foremost provide much needed healthy food for low and middle income families who are becoming increasingly squeezed financially. Low-income people, especially, tend to purchase fatty, cheap calories because vegetables are simply too expensive for them (Food Stamps do not fund a healthy diet for a family). These poor eating habits not only result in expensive health problems for much of our city's population, but they also extend deeper into all of our lives as we as a community are faced with the troubles of unmotivated youth, crime, blighted neighborhoods, lack of opportunity and employment, community dysfunction. 

By transforming vacant, blighted lots (there are 374 vacant lots to date in the city) to productive landscapes where the community can gather to work and harvest their own food, the community can begin to rebuild. Youth will have more employment opportunities and learn valuable skills and life lessons. Pride in the community will grow, as should a sense of personal empowerment for many individuals. The city would be beautified, the food system would be localized (which means a reduction of carbon emissions), access to healthy food would be easier, and the community can learn to work together to solve its problems. 

In short, if a community garden/urban farm movement were to take root here in BC, it would be one of those win-win-win-win-win (and on and on) situations. And, it can probably be financed for about as much money (or less) as we spend on a prisoner or two annually at the BC jail. For purely selfish reasons, I am hoping new young farmers will be born and join me in the sustainable farming community here in Battle Creek.

I am hoping that many of you will be interested in taking part in a local community garden this season. Currently, the process is in the organizational phase (but progress is quickly being made!).

There will be a meeting on January 27, 2010 (exact time and location TBD) to discuss what you might envision, would like to see out of community gardens in your area, ideas, resources, number of willing working bodies we have. This is a grassroots, bottom-up movement. 

For now, if you are interested, direct questions to Jeremy Andrews ( or visit the Sprout Urban Farms in Battle Creek page on Facebook

Here is some more information... Will Allen in Milwaukee WI is a national leader on the urban food movement. Click
here to see him explain what his organization, Growing Power, is doing there. Here is a quick, comprehensive video of what the community garden movement is doing in Louisiana.



Let's Get Growing!

Trent Thompson
Farmer, Green Gardens Community Farm

Please note that I added about 30 new e-mail contacts for the first time before sending this e-mail. If this is your first e-mail from the farm, it will be the first of many over the next couple months (before the season starts!). Unsubscribing is easy below. Thank you.

Posted 12/15/2009 4:47pm by Trent Thompson.

Many of you may be looking for a green Holiday or Birthday gift, or may simply want to save money on Green Gardens produce next season. 

GG Farm BUCKS get you a 10-15% discount at the farm’s online farm stand and at the farmers’ market booths in Richland (WED) and Kalamazoo (SAT). Each Buck is valued at $100 of farm produce. If you purchase 3 or more Bucks, you get a deeper discount (15%). Bucks are valid through the 2010 season.

  •  $90 = $100 in GG Farm Bucks
  • $180 = $200 in GG Farm Bucks
  • $255 = $300 in GG Farm Bucks
  • $340 = $400 in GG Farm Bucks

Bucks will be mailed out ASAP in time for Christmas if you can mail in your registration form soon.

Here is the registration form (PDF) with more details.

Happy Holidays!



Posted 12/15/2009 3:26pm by Trent Thompson.

Register now for the 2010 Michigan Family Farms Conference at!


“Holding on to Good Food, Good Families, Good Farms” is the theme for the 7th annual Michigan Family Farms Conference on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek. Come learn how small, family farms are shaping Michigan’s diverse agricultural future, discuss challenges and growth opportunities for these growing farms and get information on how to overcome challenges and take advantage of these open doors. Register online now at!


2010MFFCBrochure.jpgIn spite of tough economic times around the state and country, agriculture is growing in Michigan! The scopes and sizes of farms, the diversity of farmers and products and the booming local food scene are all part of our state’s expanding agricultural landscape, and there is great opportunity for growth and success for those who want to make a difference, and a profit, growing food.


Corey Flournoy, the first ever non-rural, African-American National FFA President from 1994-1995, is this year’s keynote speaker and will share his experiences and his mission to help youth and adults seek, discover and capitalize on the creative elements of success within to make a positive contribution to our world.


Corey is a native of Chicago and has more than 20 years of experience in agricultural education. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is now an adjunct professor, and a Masters degree from Michigan State University in Agricultural and Extension Education. He has received national recognition, including the Outstanding Young Men of America Award and one of the top “30 under 30” business leaders in Chicago, for his energetic, creative and powerful presentations, inspiring many diverse audiences, from businessmen to government officials to today’s youth. Come to the conference and let him inspire you to make a difference in the world!


This conference is a great opportunity for small and limited resource farmers to connect with other growers and great resources, network, and learn about small-scale sustainable and local production.


Conference sessions include: Small-scale Farmer Opportunities with Bioenergy; the Top 5 Things Families Do to Break up Their Business; Increasing Your Markets Using Michigan MarketMaker; Successful Organic Specialty Crop Production; Planning for the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP); Determining which Farmers Market is Right for Me; The Economics of Grass-based Dairy Operations and Robotic Milking; Putting Together a Food Safety Plan for your Farm; Conserving Pollinators for Sustainable Crop Pollination & USDA Funding; Farm Loan Assistance and Specialty Crop Disaster Information; So You Want to Sell Local?; Revitalizing Your Community with Youth and Small-scale Farming; Growing Your Agripreneurial Business; Telling Your Farm Story by Using the Web; Are High Tunnels Right for Me?; and two Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Farmer Rancher Grants Farmer Forums. Special youth activities focused on agriculture, too, make this family farms conference truly a family event.


Each session is led by an experienced individual or panel, representing a range of farms, agencies and organizations from all across the state to offer unique perspectives and experiences on each topic. These individuals are the leaders in their field and have information, connections and resources to share. Speakers are also accompanied by a farmer who has lived through it to share his or her personal experience in the challenges and successes. Together, these people offer a unique and comprehensive mix of technical, practical and hands-on experience and information.


Registration is now open, and the early-bird registration fee is $30 per person before January 10, $25 for MIFFS members and $20 for youth. Registration is open online now at for those using credit or debit cards to register, and the brochure is available for download for those who wish to send in registration and check by mail. Registrations after January 10 or at the door are $40 per person and do not guarantee a lunch, so register early!


For more information or to be a sponsor or exhibitor, visit or contact the MIFFS office at (517) 432-0712 or Some scholarships are available; contact Barbara Norman at (269) 208-4588 for more information. No refunds after January 10.

Posted 12/10/2009 7:43pm by Trent Thompson.
Greetings 2009 CSA Members,

I trust that you are staying warm and driving carefully if you do try to brave this recent batch of wintry weather. Having slid into the ditch today with 4WD on my truck going about 5 mph, I can bear witness that the roads are very slick. 

Things here at the farm are slowing down as the cold weather has finally set in this year.  The seed catalogs have come in and planning for the 2010 season is in bloom. Your comments from the 2009 CSA survey have been very valuable for 2010 crop planning. So far, over 80% have been returned! Very impressive. I think that this is a good indicator of the commitment CSA members have towards the farm, and their desire to see it improve each year. Thank you. If you would still like to complete your 2009 CSA survey, click
here and mail it to the farm at 8319 White Rabbit Road.

In 2010, we hope to increase the volume of the boxes. More salad mix and lettuce, potatoes, sweet corn, carrots, onions. New crops for 2010 boxes will likely include artichokes, celery, celeriac, rutabaga, leeks, and perhaps popcorn. To see the 2010 crop availability by month (please note the windows for some crops have been extended too far, usually over the summer, due to software limitations),
click here.

A large loan was also offered to the farm by a CSA member, so a high tunnel greenhouse is planned to be put up late March next season. The new 30' x 96' high tunnel (
probably this one) will allow the farm to have extra early tomatoes (hopefully, by late June). Yum! It will also allow the farm to extend production (of greens and root crops) well into November and December, enabling us to begin thinking about offering an extended season CSA share in two to three years. 

Thanks to all of those members who offered their financial support through low-interest loans. Right now, the farm has adequate money to make the infrastructure investments it needs to, but we may still be interested in the future if you are still willing to invest in the farm.

CSA Details for 2010 can be found
here. A flower share add-on is still being mulled over. To universalize the operation here, Deluxe boxes have been dropped. 1/2 shares may be available in 2011 or 2012. 

Please let the farm know by January 1, 2010 if you are interested in being a member for the 2010 season. By being a 2009 member, you are automatically grandfathered in if you want to continue membership. Even if you have let me know before now, I would appreciate another e-mail (A simple "YES" or "NO" will work). If you have said that you wish to continue membership next year on your CSA survey and printed your name, I will mark you down for next season. If you did not fill out a survey and I don't hear anything by January 1, your membership will be given to another person on the waiting list. 

The farm is also trying to raise funds for low-income families in Battle Creek to provide subsidized shares. In 2010, the
CSA Farm Fund will be established to help make fresh food available to those most in need of it. A simple box can be checked with an amount you wish to add to the price of your share for the donation to go towards the CSA Farm Fund. 

Your 2010 CSA membership form will be mailed out by mid-late January. 

Thank you again for your support!

More news is on the way!

Farmer Trent (and Ruthie)

Remember those summer boxes? I miss all those fresh tomatoes!