Ruthie and Trent Thomson are the masterminds behind the Green Garden Community Farm located in Battle Creek, Michigan. Trent and Ruthie just recently moved locations from a property that they were renting close to Marshall, Michigan. At the previous location Trent and Ruthie established their business formerly known as White Rabbit, on three acres of land. It was at the former location where Trent interned many young farmers, some of whom have taken what they learned from Trent and their experiences on the farm and started their own businesses. One example is Clay who interned with Trent when he was a senior in high school. He now has his own business by the name of Earth Smith Farms. Both Clay and Trent will explain their time working together as more of an exchange of knowledge and various skill sets.
Trent and Ruthie have well established their new business in a very ideal location, tucked away off the highway between Kalamazoo and Lansing. Situated on 20 acres of land Trent and Ruthie are now well on their way to a very diversified property with a wide array of products. With the move, many new opportunities have arisen and the business is continuously growing. Trent was very enthusiastic and excited to give us a tour of his whole property. Trent shared excitement about the trajectory and vision for his business throughout our tour. Trent was not shy in attributing much of his success on the new property to his crew of workers whom we were given the pleasure to meet and chat with for a while. We were informed that the crew members are all paid a living wage in exchange for their endless energy and hard work. The whole 20 acres is run by the team of 5 workers and Trent. Ruthie was definitely not forgotten about because she is a critical part of the team as she keeps control of the finances for the business and she “keeps Trent grounded in logistics when he gets going on his dreams about the property ”. She also has her hands full caring for her and Trent’s new kiddo.
The crew is comprised of Hristina, Stefan, Dillon, Devon (UPDATE: Now owner of Sunlight Gardens) and Scottie. All the crew members seem to have incredible stories and all of them talked about how fortunate they are to have found Trent to work with. Devon in particular hyped how fortunate he was to work with Trent and how much he has learned since he began working with Trent. Devon is the Manager of the Sprout Urban Farm of Battle Creek and he has taken much of what he has learned and implemented it on the Sprout farm already. Aside from meeting all the crew and watching them at work as we walked through all the production gardens outside, Trent also was happy to walk us through his 7 hoop houses. We were fortunate enough to taste the golden cherry tomatoes right off the vine. Those tomatoes didn't even need to be washed because Trent and his team work effortlessly to utilize and maintain natural production methods. Green Gardens is currently certified naturally grown but they are already in the process of becoming certified organic.
Other things in the works out at Green Gardens are the establishment of a bunch of varieties of fruit trees. Trent also sells products to 5 different restaurants in Kalamazoo and he does some whole sales to businesses as well. They also have 120 member CSA (community supported agriculture) shares. You can find these friendly faces at the Kalamazoo Farmers Market on Saturdays, currently located in the Southwest corner. Trent is one of the most open farmers I personally have met, as an aspiring farmer myself I learned a thing or two just in our tour and I know that he would be happy to give anyone a tour of his property and share any of the knowledge he knows. Check out Green Gardens at market, their products are sure to speak for themselves but Trent and his crew undoubtedly will be happy to chat you up and will surely make you smile a midst all the hustle and bustle of the crowds on Saturdays.
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