Food and Farming

Cruz in the gardens

Entrepreneurial Agriculture & Ecological Design

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 and the Botanic Garden Society were chosen to help the municipal authorities manage this special property, which now includes the neighboring TC Community Gardens.

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 was the original and former SEEDS office.

SEEDS' Role at the Barns

SEEDS manages approximately 5 acres with our agriculturally focused Youth Conservation Corps team.

This program is designed for youth to learn the ins and outs of what it takes to grow a small-scale, diverse, organic vegetable farm.  Corps members gain exposure to entrepreneurial agriculture - a growing green collar industry.

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.