Farms of any size or commodity can be verified in the Farmstead System demonstrating their investment to environmental stewardship. The Farmstead System addresses environmental risks on the entire farmstead.
The Farmstead category looks at activities performed on the entire farm with a focus on protecting surface and groundwater. Michigan farms of all sizes and types can apply under this category.
To earn recognition, invite a MAEAP technician to visit your farm. He or she will help you assess your farm, develop a plan of action, and fill out paperwork. He or she will also provide you with information on financial and technical assistance that you may find helpful. You are free to implement your plan’s recommended steps on your own time.
Once the work is complete, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). A verifier from MDARD will visit your farm to ensure the recommended practices are in place and address erosion and runoff risks on your land.
Once your farm is “verified,” you will receive a sign to display on your farm. You can buy a second sign if needed. You will also receive preference for cost-share, tax credits, and other financial assistance.
Your MAEAP recognition is good for five years. To maintain MAEAP recognition, you must review your plan with a MAEAP technician and request a farm visit from MDARD.
CBI’s Giving Tree Farm – Clinton County
MAEAP verified CBI’s Giving Tree Farm started as a community garden for people with disabilities. As the garden continued to grow, more people started to volunteer. Eventually, a heated greenhouse was built which allows for a year-round horticultural therapy program. Now, the garden project has become a productive certified organic farm with seven acres of fields, a heated greenhouse and eight hoop houses for year-round production. CBI runs a vocational training and rehabilitation program on the farm site. Monday through Friday, people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries help grow fresh, healthy produce for community supported agriculture members, area restaurants, the local food co-op, and local farmers’ markets. The farm also utilizes cover crops and incorporates pasture-raised chickens.