CRAFT Farmer Training in Michigan May 12, 2011

CRAFT is a network of farmers of all ages and experience levels who are interested in continuing their agricultural education. CRAFT offers exposure to a diversity of farm designs and agricultural practices through potlucks, workshops and farm tours. We build a supportive community of farmers and farmers-in- training, one farm at a time. The first CRAFT program was founded in upstate New York in 1995. Northwest Lower Michigan CRAFT was designed in 2010 to meet the needs of farm interns or apprentices, but the program is for anyone interested in learning (or teaching) agricultural skills. What is required of member farms? Two things: first, each farm is required to host one workshop/farm tour/potluck in the 2011 growing season, at a date that works with your growing season. Second, each farm is required to make time for your interns, apprentices and other farm-learners to attend other workshops. Everyone is welcome.

How do I host a workshop? Ideally there will be one or two workshops each month between May and September. The workshops should include a general farm tour and then a demonstration of a farming skill that you employ. This doesn’t have to be complicated—simple workshops can work very well! We commonly share a potluck meal after the workshop as a way to build new friendships and colleagues. We’re happy to help you plan your workshop—just give us a call or send us an email.

What if I don’t typically have interns on my farm? What if I’m interested in farming but not a farm intern? You are still welcome to attend! Farms that offer a workshop may send as many folks as you like to the other workshops for free. Individuals who are not interning on farms can still attend farm tours for a recommended donation of $10/tour. Don’t let the terminology stop you from joining. If you are interested in learning how other farmers work, join up!

For more information, please contact Amanda at or 231-480-4515.

Let’s Meet! Interested in CRAFT? Come to the pre-season meeting, Saturday, April 30 at 6:30pm at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City.

CRAFT Potluck and Farm Tour at Blackbird Gardens Thursday, May 12 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Blackbird Gardens 916 Blackbird Road, Petoskey, MI
Mike Everts runs a one acre micro farm in Petoskey. He grows vegetables, herbs and flowers and sells at local farm markets, to local restaurants, the Grain Train, and serves 12 working share CSAs. The workshop will be about wind row scale composting, using a small tractor with loader and pitchforks to layer up the pile. Ratios of component materials, inoculation, moisture, temperature curve, pile turning, and completeness of compost will be discussed. Biodynamic preps will be demonstrated.Free for CRAFT Members, $10 suggested donation for non-CRAFT members. Potluck to follow after 5pm, please bring a dish to pass.

How do I join? Fill out the application online or print one to fill out at home. You can also call Amanda Kik at (231) 480-4515 or email her at to sign up.

Are there fees? If you host a workshop, there is no cost. The CRAFT program is funded by the Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & NaturalDesign (ISLAND).As a non-profit educational center, we receive support from private donors and private and public funding agencies. If you would like to support ISLAND, your donation is fully tax deductible and can be earmarked to finance the CRAFT program. Donations are not required to join!


What is the geographic boundary of CRAFT? As of 2010 the current boundary is what is commonly referred to as the 10 county area – from Emmet south to Missaukee and west to Manistee. We don’t expect interns to travel that entire distance; instead interns can choose to attend only those events that are within 60-90 miles. Most ISLAND events take place in Antrim and Grand Traverse counties.

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