To know more about the Friends of Michael Fields and the different levels of participation available, you can visit Michael Fields website

Or keep in touch with David Andrews, the Executive Director, at 262-642-3303 / via email

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At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

Ken Buchanan, a new ‘Friend of Michael Fields’

Ken Buchanan: “I became a Friend of Michael Fields because I think that the Whole Farm Workshops are very valuable. They provide very good information for farmers and this is very important to do for sustainable agriculture”

Ken Buchanan believes that the classes which he attends at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute are necessary. This farmer from the lower peninsula of Michigan decided to be a Friend of Michael Fields: a foundation of the Institute which accepts donations for the support of its programs. Ken and his wife, Holly, have been interested for many years in farming and gardening, and they started their own farm a short time ago. The Buchanans believe that Michael Fields can provide very useful tools that they can use to increase their crops and their business.

With the support of individual donors like them, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute hopes to be able to promote sustainable agriculture for more many years to come. The Institute created the Friends of Michael Fields for this reason last fall. Anyone can deposit a donation in order to support the programs of the institute. These include fair farming practices, promotion of local food systems and organic food production. To express gratitude to these new donors, Michael Fields rewards them with benefits such as workshops for free, a baseball cap, or an invitation to the annual Benefit Dinner the Institute celebrates every year.

As faithful followers, Ken and Holly attend most of the weekly Whole Farm Workshops at Michael Fields. As a reward, they also received their prize for joining the Friends of Michael Fields. They attended a workshop for free last month.

These farmers knew about the Institute because they attended a presentation by Master Gardeners at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Actually, Ken and Holly have tried to learn as much as possible about running a sustainable farm in the last 8 years. They started the North Wood Farm in Charlevoix, Michigan, 7 years ago. Now they have planted many different kinds of perennial fruits and vegetables.

“We are really excited about what we will plant this year. In the Whole Farm Workshops at Michael Fields we have learned different techniques with the organic approach. That’s what we always find challenging. Being someone competitive in organic farming is very important for us”.

In order to improve and know about more facilities and resources, Ken and Holly are trying to grow their small business. They know the organic produce they produce is superior and they acknowledge that organizations like Michael Fields are basic to help with sustainable farming.  These beginner farmers are convinced the Institute can serve as a networking point where one can find answers about farming and gardening. Actually, this is part of the mission of Michael Fields Agricultural Institute. The organization focuses its work in different departments. The Institute has strived to advance sustainable farming practices combined with groundbreaking research. Since the 1980s, this research has helped farmers, consumers, and the environment. What’s best for people and the land has always been the primary focus of the Michael Fields’ work in farming systems, crops and soils. Another effort at the Institute is the Policy Program. Its purpose is to protect and advance state policies promoting sustainable agriculture. The program empowers citizens to use democratic processes to direct government resources to support sustainable agriculture’s many objectives. With the Education Program, Michael Fields is collaborating with different schools in the area to bring together hands-on garden experience for the youth of the community of East Troy where the Institute is located. Now, at the beginning of another season, Michael Fields Stella Gardens is once again offering an outdoor classroom dedicated to training the next generation of young farmers, as well as, those simply interested in learning about sustainable agriculture. Michael Fields also schedules the Whole Farm Workshops where beginning farmers and advanced growers develop the skills and competencies that they need to take their agricultural careers to the next level. The goal of Ken and Holly Buchanan is to arrive at this next level. In as much they are attending the workshops; they are improving techniques and getting more knowledge to apply on their farm.

Donations from individuals comprise an essential element of support for the programs at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute. Ken and Holly Buchanan have chosen to express their support by joining and making a donation to Friends of Michael Fields.


To know more about the Friends of Michael Fields and the different levels of participation available, you can visit Michael Fields website

Or keep in touch with David Andrews, the Executive Director, at 262-642-3303 / via email