Farm News

Posted 3/19/2009 8:39pm by Trent Thompson.

Not a whole lot going yet, just the very early crops...kohlrabi, green onions, pac choi and a few later crops that need a big jump-start like artichokes and early tomatoes. Many new crops will be seeded over the next week. I built this greenhouse primarily to save on heating costs in the early season and so far it is doing a great job. With the new thermostatically controlled kerosene heater (set to 50 F on nights), less than 1 gallon per night has been used over the past week.

Posted 3/19/2009 8:11pm by Trent Thompson.

Sam Kass, left, an assistant White House chef, and Dale Haney, a White House gardener, at the site of a new vegetable garden on the South Lawn.

March 19, 2009

Obamas to Plant White House Vegetable Garden

WASHINGTON — On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets (the president doesn’t like them) but arugula will make the cut.

While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at time when obesity has become a national concern.

In an interview in her office, Mrs. Obama said, “My hope is that through children, they will begin to educate their families and that will, in turn, begin to educate our communities.”

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington will help her dig up the soil for the 1,100-square-foot plot in a spot visible to passers-by on E Street. (It’s just below the Obama girls’ swing set.) Students from the school, which has had a garden since 2001, will also help plant, harvest and cook the vegetables, berries and herbs.

Almost the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said laughing. “Now Grandma, my mom, I don’t know.” Her mother, she said, would probably sit back and say: “Isn’t that lovely. You missed a spot.”

Whether there would be a White House garden has been more than a matter of landscaping. It’s taken on political and environmental symbolism as the Obamas have been lobbied for months by advocates who believe that growing more food locally could lead to healthier eating and lessen reliance on huge industrial farms that use more oil for transportation and chemicals for fertilizer.

In the meantime, promoting healthful eating has become an important part of Mrs. Obama’s agenda.

“The power of Michelle Obama and the garden can create a very powerful message about eating healthy and more delicious food,” said Dan Barber, an owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., an organic restaurant that grows many of its own ingredients. “I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it could translate into real change.” full article in NY Times 


Posted 2/26/2009 4:44pm by Trent Thompson.

Yes! I just loved this when I saw it. Let's tear up the White House lawn and turn it into a garden! Visit and sign the petition to make this a reality. See the "This Lawn is Your Lawn" video here.

I would actually would not be surprised to see this happen.

Michelle Obama in this week's NY Times:

When food is grown locally, [Obama] said, "oftentimes it tastes really good, and when you're dealing with kids, you want to get them to try that carrot."

"If it tastes like a real carrot, and it's really sweet, they're going to think that it's a piece of candy," she continued. "So my kids are more inclined to try different vegetables if they are fresh and local and delicious."

Here is the link to the entire article.

Posted 2/26/2009 12:12pm by Trent Thompson.

Although, the farm's CSA is currently full, the farm has decided to happily donate a box to CIR (Community Inclusive Recreation) for their annual fundraiser on March 9 from 10:30-1:30 PM at the McCamley Center Downtown. The box ($425 value) will be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with all the money going to CIR. If you are unfamiliar with CIR, it is undoubtedly one of the gems of our community and the non-profit world. Here is CIR's video.

The mission of CIR is to "...create an inclusive community where people of all abilities can develop artistic, social, civic, leadership, and career building skills to achieve their goals." My brother, Trevor, who was born with spina bifida and is paralyzed from the waste down has benefitted directly from the great work of this non-profit by going to dances and baseball games  (that is another CIR participant in the photo above) at Bailey Park. CIR is making a tremendous difference in our community, breaking down barriers, transforming lives, and building a stronger, more inclusive Battle Creek. If you don't want a CSA box, there are other auctions as well for a flat screen TV, trips, massages, used car, diamond ring, and a chance to win a Harley Davidson with a $20 ticket. If you still can't make it but want to donate to CIR, here is a link.

From CIR:

  • $20 provides an ETC ARTS Studio participant with the supplies they need to create a unique piece of art,
  • $50 gives a foster child the opportunity to go on a youth trip to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago,
  • $100 supports the transportation costs for a participant who would otherwise not be able to leave their group home, $200..., $500..., $1000...
Thank you. Trent
Posted 2/26/2009 11:39am by Trent Thompson.

I first learned of the dangers of biotechnology, the benefits of genetic diversity, and the reasons behind the incredibly high suicide rate of Indian farmers through Vandana Shiva when she spoke at Wells Hall at Michigan State when I was sophomore or junior (just 3-4 years ago). She spoke with a calm sense of passion and clarity about the need for more sustainable agricultural systems that heal the earth, reduce poverty, and rebuild our communities. Her new book Soil, Not Oil: Environmental Justice in a Climate Crisis, links industrial agriculture to climate change and poverty, and calls for a new era in agriculture where we get back to sustainable small, local farms that strengthen communities and heal the earth. I highly recommend seeing her on March 12.

From the Kalamazoo Peace Center...

March 12 - 7:00 PM - East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center on Western Michigan University's campus in Kalamazoo

Students & low income FREE - General public $5

Call 231-852-0950 for more information.

Vandana Shiva is a world renowned environmentalist, activist, ecofeminist, and physicist. She will be speaking on "Earth Democracy."

Here is an excerpt from her explanation of Earth Democracy:

We need once more to feel at home on the earth and with each other. We need a new paradigm to respond to the fragmentation caused by various forms of fundamentalism. We need a new movement, which allows us to move from the dominant and pervasive culture of violence, destruction and death to a culture of non-violence, creative peace and life. That is why in India, Navdanya started the Earth democracy movement, which provides an alternative world view in which humans are embedded in the Earth Family, we are connected to each other through love, compassion, not hatred and violence and ecological responsibility and economic justice replaces greed, consumerism and competition as objectives of human life.

This event is sponsored by The Peace Center, USAS, Alliance for Socioeconomic Justice, and the Western Student Association. SAF Funded

Posted 2/17/2009 9:29pm by Trent Thompson.

I regret to inform anyone else interested in the 2009 CSA Program at Green Gardens that the farm has filled all of its 2009 slots. Fortunately, you can still be put on the 2009 waiting list (if 2009 members drop their share or if the farm decides that it can take on additional members later in the season) and/or the 2010 waiting list. The farm has plans of expanding the 2010 CSA to serve an even greater number of people in the Battle Creek area. For 2009, however, I have decided to keep the number of members to a manageable level. Managing a CSA properly is not an easy task. I want to make sure it is done right so all of Green Gardens' CSA members are satisfied.

The tremendous outpouring of support for the CSA is a strong sign that there is continued room for growth in the Battle Creek community for additional small farmers. Once people taste fresh, local produce and understand the ecological and economical benefits of supporting their local farm, there is simply no going back to Big Box produce. I am thrilled by the response to the CSA. Thank you to all of the members. May 2009 be a great growing season!

See you in the Spring.


Posted 1/25/2009 6:33pm by Trent Thompson.

Dear Friends and Valued Vegetable Eaters:

We hope you are all staying warm this frigid winter season! Farm fever is upon us as we become antsy with dreams of fields of vegetable color. In less than a month, we begin to sow the seeds of summer in the greenhouse! So, if you want to join us for a season of fresh and nutritious vegetables, please let us know as soon as possible to secure your share of the harvest.

Secure a CSA slot by sending the farm a $50 non-refundable deposit (that will be subtracted from your total share cost). This deposit lets us know you are committed to beginning the process of becoming a Green Gardens Community Farm CSA Member. Checks can be made payable to TRENT THOMPSON and sent to the farm at 8319 White Rabbit Road, Battle Creek, MI 49017. Invoices with the remaining balance will be sent out in March.

Need more info about our CSA Program? Review details about our CSA Program by clicking here.

Don't fret...spring isn't too far off! May your tastebuds meet the radishes once again.


Thank you for your support.

Your Green Gardens Farmers,
Trent and Jena

Posted 1/19/2009 10:08am by Trent Thompson.

NPR's Splendid Table with Lynn Rosetto Kaspar recapped this past year's locavore volunteers' experiences eating locally in the January 17th show (Barbara Kingsolver, author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was also interviewed on the show). Donna McClurkan from Fair Food Matters (a local food advocacy group) in Kalamazoo was one of those locavores and is heard on the show. Reflecting on her past year of eating locally, Donna said:

"This changed my life. I feel like I walk more lightly on the earth. I do less harm. We discovered that knowing more about food was a springboard to understanding our environment and our planet, in particular the threats to our soil and water. Our lives are more food-centric now and our expanded sense of community reflects this desire. I feel like I've awakened from something. And, again, as I've said, this project changed my life."

Donna toured the farm back in July of 2008 and we have been working together recently exploring ideas about food, agriculture, the local food system here in W. Michigan. Donna also frequently posts on the Eat Local SW Michigan yahoo group.

The Local Food Movement is growing at a rapid rate, but we do not have enough new, young farmers to grow the food. Inspiring new farmers and removing many of the economic barriers to small-scale farming are two of our priorities that I feel very passionately about. If you know of anyone interested in small-scale vegetable production, please do not hesitate to pass my contact info. on to them. I love what I do and want more local producers to thrive in the Battle Creek/Kalamazoo area. Green agricultural jobs are a very real possibility here.



Posted 1/10/2009 1:22pm by Trent Thompson.

A view of the starter greenhouse and west field (where most vegetables will be grown in 2009)...




Posted 12/30/2008 11:32am by Trent Thompson.

The farm is now in the process of signing up members for the 2009 CSA program. Members will get fresh vegetables, melons, and herbs for 21 weeks from early June through October. The deadline to secure a spot with deposit money ($50) is January 31, 2009. For more information about the program in Battle Creek, visit the farm's CSA page. Below is a photo of a box from Jena's farm in Oregon.