I’ve yet to encounter an event that provides, in one day, as much education and exposure to land and hand connected skills as Tillers Harvest Fest. In the span of 6 hours guests will witness myriad demonstrations that illustrate both traditional and contemporary live-power farming and homesteading. I’ll include a full description of the event below but before I do so I’d like to recognize each of this year’s sponsors who have made the event possible. Come see us Sunday, Sept. 24!
http://www.kalsee.com/ Kalsee is our only Platinum Sponsor this year. Please go to their website and learn more about this great local credit union.
http://foodsystems.msu.edu/ Our vision is a thriving economy, equity and sustainability for Michigan, the country and the planet through food systems rooted in local regions and centered on food that is healthy, green, fair and affordable.
https://primalwoods.com/ John and Geri Newell founded Primal Woods because they wanted to further their lives in a way that brought them closer to the earth, their community, and each other. They left the corporate world, the city and the suburbs, and moved to a rural home in Southwest Michigan. The homestead includes a sizable woods, and their early experiments included gardening, beekeeping, maple syruping, hunting, wood products, soap making, and an ongoing exploration into forest products and forest management in general. Some of these experiments have come to form the three facets of Primal Woods, the Sawyers, the Sugarers (including Maple and bee products), and the Soapers.
http://www.kalfound.org/ The Community Foundation provides essential funding to programs that ensure all of our children have an equitable chance for success in school, that nurture and prepare all of our young people for life beyond school, that support individuals and families from all walks of life, that enhance community prosperity in every corner of Kalamazoo County, and make life better for all.
http://www.moffa.net/index.html MOFFA was organized in 1992 as a non-profit organization with the mission of promoting organic agriculture and the development and support of food systems that revitalize and sustain local communities. MOFFA was one of the first organizations in Michigan and the nation to actively promote these principles. Be sure to check out the newly published book The Organic Movement in Michigan at their booth at the fest.
http://www.cropservicesintl.com/ CSI’s mission is to provide the most advanced soil testing, technology and products to enable farmers and growers – of all sizes and types – to improve the health of their soils, crops and animals.
http://www.kalamazooenergyaudits.com/ Better World Builders’ vision is to live in a world and community where our homes and businesses operate with a Zero Net Energy consumption and carbon emission. Their mission is to install energy efficiency and renewable energy measures to alleviate climate change. They begin by helping home and business owners evaluate their energy needs then install energy conservation retrofits.
http://swmlc.org/ Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy works with staff, dedicated volunteers, and willing landowners to protect endangered and threatened habitats and species, rural character and open space, agriculture and passive recreation, and extraordinary vistas in the nine counties of southwest Michigan. Since its inception, SWMLC has protected over 15,000 acres of dunes, wetlands, forests, savannas, prairies, farms, and vineyards that give our region its distinctive character.
http://pfckalamazoo.coop/ PFC (People’s Food Co-op) exists to create access to food that is healthy for people, land, and the economy.
More on the Fest:
Moreso than in past years, the day will be filled with draft animal farming demonstrations (oxen and draft horses). The fields and grounds will be astir with 8 teamsters and drovers demonstrating a number of different animal powered implements. This comes with Tillers renewed efforts to highlight Animal Traction along with its commitment to share practical animal-powered technologies with small-holder communities around the world.
Another highlight worth mentioning is Cliff Pequet’s all day shoe-making demonstration. Cliff operates the Sign of the Boot at the Center for Traditional Arts in Shipshewana, IN.
As usual, there will be skill-sharing in the blacksmith and woodshops, including a barrel firing. Rob Collins will return for a scheduled ox-driving demo and Art Toy from Four Elements Energy will give a solar demo. John Newell of Primal Woods will set up for a portable sawmill services demonstration. His demos will run throughout the day in the pasture beyond the cornfield.
Tillers’ resident farmer, Ivy Pagliari, is optimistic about this year’s sorghum crop and we look forward to pressing, boiling, and selling molasses the day of the event. There’ll also be wagon rides, fiber spinning, wheat threshing, and instructor Brenna Pixley will lead guests into the woods on an Herb Walk. Curator of Collections, Jim Slining, will be on hand in the Tillers’ Museum for guided tours.
Kids can expect to be challenged by a farm-wide scavenger hunt and the Michigan Barn Preservation Network’s model timber frame raising. Ben Martin of Soil Friends is bringing over his pigmy goats as well.
A great variety of local artisan and food vendors goes without saying. Many local businesses and organizations will be represented as well. Music will include Smallmouth, a shape-note singing workshop, and couple of other groups yet to be confirmed.
Vendors and Sponsors can register here: http://tillersinternational.org/event/harvest-fest/