Megan DeLeeuw started Hand Sown Farm in 2010 as a first-generation farmer. Although she scaled back in 2017 to focus on raising hoop house heirloom tomatoes, her commitment to farming remains strong. She shares her passion with others through her job with the Washtenaw County Conservation District.
Megan’s work with farmers is a major reason why she chose to participate in the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). A voluntary program, MAEAP helps Michigan farmers adopt cost-effective practices that reduce erosion and runoff into ponds, streams, and rivers.
“I wanted to know how MAEAP might affect someone like me who doesn’t fit the stereotype of most farmers who get verified,” says Megan. “Plus, I want to speak from experience with other farmers when I promote the program.”
Megan earned her first MAEAP recognition in 2018 in the Farmstead and Cropping categories. The process was easy, and she appreciated that her MAEAP tech was willing to work around her busy schedule. Her experience convinced Megan that all farmers should give the MAEAP program a try.
“It’s a nice check,” says Megan. “It gives you a reason to look at your farming practices and make sure everything is on track.”
Going through the MAEAP process can also be an important first step for new farmers.
“Folks who grow up on a farm can take for granted the simple things that beginning farmers are just learning to do,” says Megan. “Getting MAEAP verified sets yourself up so you can start off on the right foot.”