Location: Benzonia, MI
Deadline: May 31, 2017
Farmer Position Available
Grow Benzie is a non-proﬁt organization located near the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park in northwest lower Michigan. Founded in 2008, this community farmstead was previously an abandoned commercial nursery with three 5,000 sqft greenhouses, a 3,200 sqft ranch house, and a 4,500 sqft retail building. The mission of Grow Benzie is to increase access to healthful foods, jobs, life skills and each other and provide a space that nurtures this activity. As an educational agritourism destination, year-round public events include potlucks and concerts, classes and workshops including gardening (in our hoop houses), culinary and nutrition (in our commercial kitchen), sewing and knitting (in our sewing studio), and a weekly farmers market (in our event center and picnic area). Grow Benzie is also the umbrella organization for four guilds, including ﬁber, beekeeping, soil/compost, and seeds. In 2016 Grow Benzie added a food truck to its portfolio and in 2017 won a grant from Traverse City Rotary Charities to enhance its 4-acre community space. Spring projects include expanding accessibility, connecting learning stations and property gardens with edible trails & signage, and building a living mini-golf course with raised beds and natural ground cover.
Plans and oversees the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of vegetables and ﬂowers; maintaining good health of all plants through natural or organic products; keeping records of daily operations; assigning and delegating duties to other greenhouse staff (employees and/or volunteers); meeting with Grow Benzie Executive Director; planning & teaching gardening/ farming workshops, managing Grow Benzie’s Community Gardens.
QUESTIONS = ANSWERS
Is this an incubator farm model?
Similar, with resources and infrastructure in place to help accelerate the success of the farmer. However, there are no full-time farmers on the property to provide guidance. Support is available from board members and stakeholders in the organization.
What’s the next step?
Prospective farmers should contact Josh Stoltz, Grow Benzie Executive Director, with additional questions and for a preliminary intake survey.
What does Grow Benzie provide?
Three 5,000 sqft hoop houses- 2 skinned with weaved plastic, 1 open, one 1,000 sqft hoop house, 5,000 sqft land, irrigation system, reach-in glass door refrigerator, access to 1,500 sqft certiﬁed incubator kitchen, tools, drip irrigation, row covers, soil amendments, compost, heirloom seeds, volunteers.
Who buys Grow Benzie’s produce?
We have three built-in markets at Grow Benzie: 1) Food Truck, caters private and public events throughout NW Lower Michigan including weekly Elberta & Grow Benzie Farmers Markets, 2) Event Center, we host and cater parties & ﬁeld trips throughout the spring, summer and fall months, 3) Grow Benzie Farmers Market, every Monday afternoon attracts visitors looking for local, fresh produce and value-added food products. In 2017 we are partnering with Munson Healthcare to provide $12,500 in fruit & vegetable prescriptions through our market stand and the other Grow Benzie vendors.
How much does it cost?
Depending on the farmer’s needs and experience, we will create a mutual agreement pertaining to, but not limited to, production output and goals, rental fees, percentage of sales, public instruction and workshops.
Josh Stoltz, Executive Director
5885 Frankfort Highway (M-115), Benzonia, Michigan 49616