About this project
Preserving our region's health & history
Healing Tree Farm founder, Samantha Graves, grew up in the heart of cherry country and was curious about mounting concerns over the increasing rate of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among agricultural families.
In 2005, she began researching the correlation between the increased incidence of NHL impacting farmers, and the paralleled increase in the use of organochlorines and organophosphates on conventional orchards in northern Michigan. One year later, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the cancer.
In response, Healing Tree Farm was established as an experiment in growing fruit trees without the use of biocides or petrol-derived fertilizers.
Today, Samantha (living cancer-free), along with her husband, Christopher, are expanding Healing Tree to a Leelanau Conservancy-owned property at the historic DeYoung Farm just outside of Traverse City, MI.
A biodiverse 145-acre farm, DeYoung will be home to an eight-acre permaculture demonstration orchard and antique apple tree nursery.
Each acre will support 25 apple trees surrounded by support guilds, or companion plantings, mimicking the ecology of a mature forest edge. In addition to apples and guild plantings, we'll grow filbert hazelnuts and mulberries.
For this fund-raising campaign, we are seeking $5,200 to finance the initial planting of 200 apple trees. These trees, grown on standard size to semi-dwarf rootstock, are varieties selected to ensure disease resistance.
The majority of varieties we've selected for the DeYoung property once thrived in our region and climate until large-scale commercialization of commodity apples (varieties that transport well across long-distances) began seeing preference.
This shift dwindled the availability of some 14,000 varieties to market down to just 14 sold today in grocery stores across the country.
At Healing Tree Farm, It is our goal to educate other farmers, and those interested in growing food, about a safe, holistic approach to farming; a method that integrates with established ecosystems. And a thought-process that puts earth, people, and fair share above profit.
With your support, we can build upon a lasting legacy of preservation and perseverance at DeYoung, introducing a sustainable approach to farming that will foster greater resilience within our community. We appreciate your support!
Risks and challenges
Our biggest issue following funding is maintaing the health of the trees. We've already selected disease-resistant, vigorous varieties, and via our educational component, have an army of volunteers interested and eager in helping us maintain and develop the orchard. Located on public land, the orchard will be protected for years to come.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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