Using the Principles of Permaculture, our farm is connecting people with the concepts of growing sustainably within the existing ecosystem. In addition, our goal is to help young families learn to grow their own food, prepare it and store it over time. This is an ancient wisdom that has been diluted in the sea of quick-fix microwaveable meals and easy-open cans. This form of farming extends outward into the community and is not limited by acreage or equipment. Instead, we thrive on integrating into existing systems and progressing within these systems. Permaculture is a form of ecological farming or forest gardening in which the farmer mimics and integrates into the mature forest ecology, farming the way nature intended.
Farming isn’t just about what we grow, but how we grow within the larger community of people, of farms and ecosystems. This is permaculture in action.
In 2004, Samantha began researching the correlation between the increased incidence in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among agricultural families in her region. Specifically, she examined the link between NHL and the use of organochlorines and organophosphates used on cherry orchards. In 2006, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease.
Cancer-free by 2007, Samantha decided to put her energy into seeking alternative growing methods for orchards and established Healing Tree Farm as a backyard experiement that spring. Today, she writes, teaches, and demonstrates permaculture design techniques.
A landscape designer by trade, Christopher became interested in permaculture after receiving his Masters from the Conway School of Landscape Design in western Massachusetts in 2006. Today he shares his time between landscape work for area resorts and residents (minus the use of chemical fertilizers or biocides) and work on the farm.
Samantha & Christopher Graves live in Traverse City, MI with their four children, trusty beagle, two cats, and a hen.