Continuing the restoration agriculture conversations from the previous two conferences, this presentation will provide an update on Brines Farm's continuing understanding and integration of restoration agriculture techniques including notes on beginning to start our own perennial plant nursery stock. Brines Farm expanded to 80 acres of historical farmland in 2012. Previous use of the land had abused the soil and sped water off site. We began trying keyline techniques to aerate the soil and to keep water on site, and we began to plant perennials. With five seasons of thousands of plantings done, we decided it was time to start our own nursery and teamed with a plant ecologist. We will share notes on our experiences so far and discuss with workshop attendees on their experiences and the need for other local native plant nurseries across the region.
Shannon began growing vegetables and fruits as a child and established Brines Farm in 2004 due to his passion for slow food and sustainable agriculture. He began selling year-round at farmers markets and offered one of Michigan’s first fresh produce winter CSA share programs. Shannon was selected as a member of the US delegation to participate in Terra Madre 2008 in Turin, Italy, a world slow food meeting focused on increasing small-scale, traditional and sustainable food production. Shannon is an applied geographer at the University of Michigan interested in land use, agriculture, food systems, public health and sustainable design. Shannon currently serves on the Slow Food Huron Valley Board, Local Food Summit Steering Committee, Greenbelt Advisory Commission and the student-initiated University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program Advisory Board. Shannon and his wife, Erin Mittendorf, live on (and steward!) 80 acres of farmland in northern Washtenaw County.
Ben Connor Barrie, Plant Ecologist
Ben's love for "all the trees" took root as he grew in his native Ann Arbor. Studying biology and then ecology he became an ecologist whose research has focused on the regeneration and restoration of forests across a variety of environments. Ben offers consultation across the Michigan region with expertise in plant and natural community identification, data analysis, and nursery stock production.