There may be snow on the ground and an icy chill in the air, but here at Tilian Farm Development Center we are thinking Spring! We are especially eager for spring this year, since we will welcome our largest cohort yet (BY FAR) to our Ann Arbor incubator farm. SEVEN farm operations will join our two returning farms, and we’ll have farmers organically raising a diverse array of products, including chickens, bees, fruit, and of course vegetables. The diversity doesn’t stop with the farm products either, as we are also welcoming women farmers, farmers of color, and beginning farmers of all ages and backgrounds this year!
Big changes have also come to Tilian’s leadership for 2015! The Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP), a key player in Tilian’s creation and continued success, has invited Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) to take over full leadership of our incubator farm. As a statewide, membership-based nonprofit organization, Michigan Food & Farming Systems (MIFFS) has been connecting farmers to resources and opportunities since 1998. MIFFS is dedicated to supporting the many faces of farming, particularly beginning and historically underserved farmers, and we are very excited that their mission now includes Tilian Farm Development Center!
If you want to support the work we do supporting beginning farmers at Tilian, we have a few options for you:
1) We are always looking for volunteers to help out around the farm. Whether you want hands-on learning about organic agriculture and four season production, or just want to come pull weeds, we welcome you! We also love hosting volunteer groups, so if your workplace, student group, religious congregation, or community organization is looking for a site for service workdays, please contact our Farm Program Manager Stefanie to schedule your dates. Direct inquiries to: tilianfdc (at) gmail.com
2) Many of our incubator farmers rely on crowd-sourcing to provide the start-up capital and other financial resources needed to launch and sustain a successful farm. Two of our incoming incubators, Fervent Fields Farm and New Bee Apiaries and Pollinator Sanctuary, have crowd-sourcing projects in progress. Any donation can help go a long way towards supporting beginning farmers at Tilian!
3) Like and Share our Tilian Farm Development Center pages on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the pages of our incubator farmers, and send any prospective beginning farmers our way!
4) When the weather gets warm again, come take a TOUR of Tilian! Come learn about the history of our Protected Farmland, check out our extensive hoophouse infrastructure, and see what our beginning farmers have growing (and grazing!) in the field. Direct inquiries to: tilianfdc (at) gmail.com
5) Stay up to date with any future Tilian events and fundraising efforts. If there is enough interest we may even host Farm to Table dinners next summer with all proceeds going directly to our farmers!
Stay Warm & Think Spring!