The large, gorgeous barns and surrounding farm lands at the Grand Traverse Commons were historically used to feed the staff and residents of the Traverse City State Psychiatric Hospital.
In 2004, the residents of Traverse City and Garfield Township voted to purchase three parkland parcels including the 50 acre Historic Barns Park. In 2007, SEEDS, the Little Artshram, and the Botanic Garden Society were chosen to help the municipal authorities manage this special property.
We tangibly feel the historic nature of our work at this site. The farm, started by Superintendent Munson, fed the staff and residents of the psyciatric hospital. In those early days, residents often worked as part of their therapy. Residents who worked on the farm lived in Building 36, which is now the SEEDS office.
SEEDS manages approximately 5 acres for our Farmer Residency program.
This program is intended for farmers early in their career to gain real farm management experience without needing to simultaneously find and purchase expensive property, understand the micro-climates of a new parcel, and learn the particularities of their target markets in order to make a living. Residency is intended for recent farmer-graduates, those moving to Michigan from afar, or those who are relatively new to organic growing. Want more information?
The SEEDS Youth Conservation Corps also works at the farm, gaining exposure to entrepreneurial agriculture - a growing green collar industry. We also help manage invasive species like Autumn Olive.
Our Engineering and Design Staff are also engaged in the development of the property. They have helped craft policies and conceptual designs for the site's infrastructure - it's buildings, wastewater treatment and stormwater management.
Other opportunities for the community to engage and learn are also available. The public is always welcome on the property.