Graduate Testimonials "The skills I've gained created a strong base while starting my own farm business. The experience really solidified my desire to take on farming as my life's work." ~Carolyn Leadley, 2008, Owner & Manager of Rising Pheasant Farm in Detroit, MI.
“This is an extraordinary program. It’s as good or better than much more expensive intensive training, such as the Stanford Executive Program. I built and managed my first hoophouse and made my first sales to a local restaurant during the 2019 OFTP. This would not have been possible but for your program, and I am grateful that you made this possible for me.” ~Bill Coughlin, 2019, Owner of Twin Manor Farm in Memphis, MI
Without the 2019 cohort, Rich and I would definitely not be starting production on our farm in 2020. I needed the foundation in so many essentials of small-scale market farming and I received those through OFTP. The combination of hands-on learning at the SOF farm and opportunities to visit and interact with dozens of Michigan farmers is a priceless opportunity ~Cindy Kern, Co-owner of Cardinal Farms in South Lyon, MI
“The Organic Farmer Training Program has not only helped me hone my farming practices, it has advanced my tools and skills as an outdoor educator for youth-based garden learning opportunities. Our children’s garden grows beautiful produce and has created a positive environment for families to reconnect with food, health and the earth. For 2020, I have received funding to start my own farm, Family Roots, which will supply kid-friendly produce to preschools and daycare centers to improve nutrition during early childhood when brain development is at its peak.” ~Heidi Bombrisk is the Program Coordinator at Food Zoo & Kids Helping Kids at Gleaners of SE Michigan and the owner of Family Roots Farm.
"The time I spent at the OFCP as a student and assistant instructor has been integral to my confidence and success as a farmer. My training at the SOF has also been cited by a number of employers as a major reason I was hired to work on their farms, manage their programs, or develop new ways to integrate farms and schools. The network of farmers, friends and mentors I gained through participation in the program and involvement in the greater Michigan farming community is an additional resource I often call upon and dedicate a lot of my success to, and my two years at the SOF were some of the most fun, supported, community based and magical years of my life. Seeing the work of fellow graduates is an inspiration and gives me hope for the future of food." ~Nora Lindsey, Manager, The Learning Garden at Portland Community College
"The OFTP was the perfect stepping stone for me on my agricultural path. It linked together hands on learning with interesting and informative lecture that made the class worth coming to every week. The amount of information you are given, both through lectures and books/ handouts is worth the price of the program. Once you add in the hands on experience, and the network you make, it becomes an incredible deal." ~2017 OFTP participant
"OFTP has given me an array of new skills and knowledge to help me be successful in whatever farm venture I may take on or work for. The assignments were concrete skills and tools that will allow me to make my dream into a reality, and I feel much more confident about my ability to make a living farming." ~2017 OFTP participant
Alumni Farm Businesses and Employment
--Rachel Beyer, Farm Manager, Purdue University Student Farm --Aliza Ghaffari, School Nutrition Educator, Co-farmer at Magnolia Farms, Lansing, MI --Brenda Groff, Farmer & farm owner, South Powell Creek Farm --Carly Sugar, gardens manager, Yad Ezra Giving Gardens, Berkeley, MI --Carol Bontekoe, Farmer & Educator, GrowBenzie, Frankfort, MI --Danielle Brugnone, Farmer & farm owner, The Feral Field, Lansing, MI --Cloud Sparks, Farm Manager, Waishkey Bay Farm, Brimley, MI --Mallory Maloney, Farmers' Market Manager, Tahlequah Farmers' Market, Tahlequah, OK --Shiloh Maples, manager, Farm & Nutrition Education, American Indian Health & Family Services, Detroit, MI --Rosebud Schneider, Market Manager, Ziibimijwang Farm, Petoskey, MI --Mariel Borgman, MSUE Community Food Systems Educator, Kalamazoo, MI --Joannee Debruhl, Farm Manager, One World Center, Dowagiac, MI --Joan Johnson, Co-owner, Halmich Farms, Bath, MI --Karen Troshynski-Thomas, Owner/Operator, Taproot Farm, Oakland, MI --Katey Wietor, owner/operator, Good Omen Farm, Bealeton, VA --Jake Freeman owner/operator White Oak Farms. Linden, MI --Doug Burke & Adrienne Wolff, Owner/operators, Buckwheat's Market Garden, Central Lake, MI --Daniel Seggebruch, Projects Manager, MSU Student Organic Farm, East Lansing, MI --Matthew Romans, Farm Manager, Giving Tree Farm, Lansing, MI --Paul Hickner, Home farm & sharecropping, Williamston, MI --Emily Griswold, Owner/Operator, Family Circle Centennial Farms, Stockbridge, MI --Leah Rutherford, Farm Manager, Queens County Farm Museum, Floral Park, NY --Kate Whitacre, Owner/Operator, Beets and Beat Farm, Sycamore, IL --Hannah Weber, Co-Owner/Operator, Green Things Farm Collective, Ann Arbor, MI --Susan Rising, Owner/Operator, Rising Vitality Farm, Howell, MI --Wendy Pangle, Owner/Operator, Wendy's Farm Fresh Vegetables, Three Rivers, MI --Val Jorgensen, Owner/Operator, Jorgensen Farms, Westerville, MI --Jacob Farley, Owner/Operator, Circle F Ranch, Fowler, MI --Kelly Wilson, Owner/Operator, Simple Gifts Farm, Oxford, MI and Taste the Local Difference marketer --Russell Honderd, Farm Manager, King of Crops, Winston, GA --Katie Brownell, Home Farm Manager, Wyck Garden, Philadelphia, PA --Alan Kissinger, Incubator Farmer, MSU North Farm, Chatham, MI --Casey Van Nest, Owner/Operator, Restless Roots Farm, PA --Megan DeLeeuw, Owner/Operator, Hand Sown Farm, Manchester, MI and Conservation District manager --Jason Skonieczny, Farmer, Two Hounds Farm, Highland, MI --Chelsea Juengling, Farmer, Two Hounds Farm, Highland, MI --Noel Deehr- Farm Supervisor, Seminary Hill Farm, Delaware, OH --Tadd Peterson, Manager of Farm and Food, Seminary Hill Farm, Delaware, OH --Erica Aube, Owner/Operator, Songbird Farm at Tilian Farm Development Center, Ann Arbor, MI --Jessica Ratzow, Owner/Operator, Root Revival Acres, West Bloomfield Twp, MI --Katherine Wilbur, Owner/Operator, Alpena, MI & District Manager, Presque Isle Conservation District