A network of concerned citizens and groups promoting safe,
sustainable farming in
July 30, 2006
Media Contact: Gail Philbin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 616-456-5926
“Daily Special” Farm Tours Continue with Visit to Trillium Haven Farm
Farms Without Harm shines a spotlight on the sustainable practices of Trillium Haven
Farm, a small, family owned produce
Tours of Trillium Haven Farm, a 50-acre operation started by Anja Mast and Michael
VanderBrug, take place Sunday, August 20, at 1 and 3 p.m. They are open to the public
but space is limited to 25 per tour. Reservations can be made by calling 616-558-6490.
Participants in the Trillium Haven Farm tour will be able to take a wagon ride
around the farm and see how Mast and VanderBrug raise healthy, chemical-free produce
and heirloom vegetables. The couple
background who decided to start a small, sustainable farm back in 2001.
Tour takers will also get to meet Fouad Catrib, owner and chef at Marie Catrib’s
Café, a popular East Hills neighborhood eatery. The Daily Special Farm Tour series is a
collaboration with Marie Catrib’s, which offers daily menu items featuring ingredients
sourced as much as possible from local farms that raise crops and animals in a sustainable
manner. This means the farms are small in scale and use methods like natural pest control
and composting that maintain ecological balance and avoid depletion of natural resources.
Anja and Michael don't use any pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers,
because they see their farm as a living system, where its elements work together to build
and maintain soil fertility. They consider their mission to "facilitate community and personal
growth in a world that continues to become more globalized and depersonalized."
The couple believes there are better ways to farm than the industrial model of using
huge tracts of land and large equipment to grow a single type of crop that is then shipped
long distances (often cross-country) from grower to consumer. They sell directly to local
residents through their 225-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) operation,
enabling people to keep their resources in the Jenison/Grand Rapids area instead of supporting
absentee corporations in another state.
The kickoff event of the Daily Special Farm Tour series took place July 22 at Steve N
Sons Grassfields Cheese in Coopersville and attracted 70 people. Originally scheduled as
one tour, a second one had to be added the same day to accommodate the demand, according
to Gail Philbin, founder of Farms Without Harm, a network of groups, small farmers
and concerned citizens that supports
sustainable farming in
“People are really hungry for this type of experience,” said Philbin. “They are
thrilled to have the chance to learn more about where their food comes from and to meet
the people responsible for growing it in a healthy and humane way that respects the environment.”
As part of the Daily Special Farm Tour series, monthly public tours of farms from
which food at Marie Catrib’s is sourced are being offered through FWH in conjunction with
the Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council (GGRFSC) Both groups are working to
build a sustainable food system in
protects the environment, supports the rural community, and respects farm workers, consumers
Farms Without Harm was established in March 2005 to educate consumers about
where their food comes from and offer alternatives to the industrial agricultural system.
Since 2000, GGRFSC, as a program of the West Michigan Environmental Council
(WMEAC), has been developing programs to support community gardens, farmers markets
and other components of a sustainable local food system.
The GGRFSC just released the 2006 West Michigan Food Guide to help consumers
find local products. This free resource lists information for about 200 area farms, restaurants,
retailers and other sources of locally produced food.
The guide is downloadable at www.foodshed.net/foodguide and available at area
retail outlets. For more information, contact Tom Cary at 616-451-3051 or email
For details about the Daily Special Farm Tour series and Farms Without Harm, call
616-558-6490 or email email@example.com.
Water Sentinels Project