Co-founders and co-directors Brad and Amanda Kik. Photo by Toot Sweet.
Board of Directors
Michelle has been proud to serve on the board since its inception. Hailing from Michigan originally, Michelle has worked in botany, outdoor and environmental education, academia, retail, landscaping, nonprofits, and agriculture. Currently she owns and manages Birch Point Farm in Leelanau County, a CSA and market farm serving the greater Traverse City area, specializing in heirloom vegetables, flowers, and herbs. In addition to working with Crosshatch and farming, Michelle enjoys cooking and sharing food, cross country skiing, yoga, traveling, reading, spending time with her friends and husband, and keeping up with their toddler, Rudy.
Rolf von Walthausen
A piano technician by trade, working in the field since the age of 16, Rolf studied piano performance at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he spent the next two decades immersed in the arts while serving as head of the Piano Technology program. While in search of a simpler life, and before moving to Traverse City in 1998, he took a two year sabbatical to complete work on a Masters degree in Labor & Employment Relations, interested in creating more fair & meaningful relationship with our work and employers. For the next ten years his focus in Northwest Michigan centered on non-profit sector management and developing ways to better organize work around people. Most recently, Rolf's continuing quest to live more simply helped guide he and his wife Mari to build a small homestead, learning along the way what gratitude for community really means. This experiment in balancing life and work around a largely human-powered existence continues to provide inspiration for learning, loving, and living in a way that endeavors to do as little harm to the earth and our own hearts and minds as possible. Rolf is honored to be part of Crosshatch, working side-by-side with so many really smart, fun, and passionately visionary people.
ERIN ANDERSON WHITING
Erin grew up just south of Elk Rapids, surrounded by cherry orchards and family farms. She enjoyed the dynamic and exciting contrast of a stint in New York City, where she attended college and later worked in marketing for the publisher, Penguin Putnam, Inc., before returning to her native northern Michigan. Erin holds a B.A. in Literature and Middle Eastern History from Sarah Lawrence College and a diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy, where she majored in Creative Writing and was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. After a 12-year career in non-profit arts and environmental philanthropy, she is now the Executive Director of Parallel 45 Theatre, Northwest Michigan’s only resident professional theatre company, focusing on fund development and managing day-to-day operations.
Nicco has worked on both the growing and procurement side of local food, and is currently the Purchasing Manager at Cherry Capital Foods in Traverse City, Michigan. In college, he had the wonderful opportunity to live in an off-grid intentional community of twelve students called The Homestead at Denison University, where he learned a deep appreciation for consensus decision making, pooled resource management, appropriate technology and a mindful pace of living. He studied history and the environment, with a research focus on the evolution of the legal structure for patenting seeds. His poetry and non-fiction writing have appeared in the Dunes Review and Edible Grande Traverse, respectively. Nicco holds music, writing, and cooking close, and dreams of creating a homestead designed with all three in mind.
Melissa grew up in the woods of northern Michigan, rural west Texas, and Singapore. This unique combination left her to explore intersections of people, land, and story for much of her adult life. She holds a BS and MA in Anthropology from Loyola University and the University of Illinois-Chicago, and spent 10 years working in archaeology and cross-cultural studies. While working as an exhibit developer/writer for The Field Museum, she found herself in city classrooms and fell in love with teaching and the power of communal teaching. She was introduced to the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) program and decided to pursue a Masters in Education at DePaul University. In 2011, she founded Blackbird Arts in Traverse City to become a force for inclusive arts education and community engagement through the arts. She lives in Interlochen with her husband, two curious children, one rescue puppy, and a kitten with a raccoon tail.
Heather Ratliff lives in the woods along a river where she gardens, crochets, and hikes with her family. She spent several years in the Rocky mountains finding a deep connection with Mother Nature, followed by several years in Portland as patron of the arts, having endless discussions over craft beers and coffee about perils of the industrialized food system. When she moved to Traverse City she decided to dedicate her life toward food system change. As the Farm to Institution Sales Rep for Cherry Capital Foods, she works with schools, hospitals and senior centers to help them procure locally grown produce. As a leader in the Northwest Michigan Food and Farming Network, she facilitates the conversation among leaders in the local food industry to collaborate on their good work. And as a wife and a mother, she votes with her fork every day and shares the wonders of nature through the fresh eyes of her toddler.
Brian brings more than 25 years of leadership experience working primarily in the nonprofit arena with a focus on natural resource stewardship and protection. Brian’s career began in earnest working with the stewardship of natural resources as the Director of the Colorado Youth Conservation and Service Corps program in the Front Range of Colorado. Returning to his home state of Michigan in 2000, Brian spent nearly 16 years working with Leelanau Conservancy and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. Presently, Brian works as the Program Manager at Tamarack Holdings, a holding company of several local and specialty food businesses that support the local and regional food systems in Michigan. Having a degree in Philosophy from Western Michigan University, including a certificate program in Professional and Applied Ethics, Brian considers himself a critical thinker, and a "big picture" person who is uniquely intrigued by the relationship of people and land. When he's not formally engaged in these pursuits, he enjoys fly fishing, playing guitar, and spending quality time with his two sons Joe and Elliot.
Barb is a Chicagoland native whose teenage dream of farming took her on a largely 45th parallel-journey through Vermont, Tennessee, Minnesota and Wisconsin, to finally settle in Northern Michigan in the late 2000s. Along her way she has nurtured a generalist’s passion for all things agricultural through studies and work in the field (so to speak)—earning a B.S. in Plant and Soil Science, farming with Suffolk Punch draft horses, serving in restaurants and buying fresh local produce and meats for a natural foods cooperative while also being part of its management team. She is co-founder of the magazine Edible Grande Traverse, where her roles as manager and editor allow her to share with her community the food and farming stories that drive the local foodshed. Her work with Crosshatch matches her love for land, faith in community organizations and enjoyment of the creative spark. She lives and works in Traverse City at her home named Small Ax Homestead.
BOARD OF elders & ADVISORS
Stephanie Mills is an author, lecturer and longtime bioregionalist. Her books include Tough Little Beauties, Epicurean Simplicity, On Gandhi's Path, and In Service of the Wild. Since her emergence in 1969 as an ecological activist Mills has written prolifically, edited numerous periodicals, participated in countless conferences and served on the boards and advisory committees of dozens of ecologically oriented organizations from the local to national level. Since 1984 she has lived and worked in Northwest Lower Michigan. Stephanie was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by her alma mater, Mills College, and recently received the second Arthur Morgan Award from Community Solutions. She is a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, serves on the Elders Council of the Human Nature School, and is a board member of the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center.
Caitlin has served the Alliance of Artists Communities since 2002 and was appointed Executive Director in 2008. Under her leadership, the organization has come to represent over 400 artist-in-residence programs worldwide, and has granted more than $2 million in funds to artists and residency programs. A frequent public speaker, researcher, and consultant on artist residencies, Caitlin has contributed to more than a dozen publications on support for artists. In addition to her work with the Alliance, Caitlin serves on the Board of Directors of Grantmakers in the Arts.
Holly Wren Spaulding is a teaching artist, poet, and frequent collaborator. She received degrees from the University of Michigan and from Trinity College (Dublin) where she was a fellow at the Oscar Wilde Center for Irish Writing. Her work has appeared in publications suchs as Michigan Quarterly Review, Witness, The Nation, The Ecologist, Earth First! Journal, and elsewhere, and in the book We Are Everywhere (Verso Press). She has published two collections of poetry, Pilgrim (Alice Greene & Co., 2014) and The Grass Impossibly (MWCP, 2008), and has appeared in numerous anthologies. She was part of an international team of filmmakers who made the award-winning documentary FLOW, about the global water crisis. Her poems and essays have received numerous distinctions, including five Hopwood Awards, The CuChulainn to Kavanaugh Award for Poetry (Northern Ireland), The Leelanau Poetry Prize, Shaman Drum Poetry Prize, The Current Poetry Prize. She also won an Environmental Journalist of the Year Award (2003) from Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council and has been awarded various artists residencies. Founder of Poetry Forge and co-director of STORYhouse, a communications consultancy, Holly is on the faculty of Interlochen College of Creative Arts and divides her time between Michigan and Massachusetts.
Information Coming Soon!
Corie Pierce was born in New Hampshire and began vegetable farming as a teenager. On this farm, she developed and deepened her reverence for the land and our environment and where our healthy food comes from. She fell in love with growing food and teaching others how to grow food. After attending Middlebury College in Vermont where she studied Biology and Environmental Education, she moved to California where she worked teaching and developing curriculum. In the meantime, she maintained her connection to growing food and farming and worked on various farms and gardens and completed the farming and gardening apprenticeship in Agroecology at the UC Santa Cruz. In 2005 she became the co-Farm manager at the Student Organic Farm at Michigan State University and launched a new, year-long farmer training program – the Organic Farming Certificate Program at MSU. She is now co-owner of Bread & Butter Farm in Vermont.
Susan Fawcett works full-time as an artist and musician. She is a member of the Earthwork Music collective, and co-founder of Fox on a Hill Productions, LLC, a company founded to support the arts in Michigan. In the past she has worked as a union organizer, a bus driver, a botanical illustrator, a waitress, and a muralist. Over the years she has volunteered for the Green Party on the local, state and national level. In her free time she enjoys playing fiddle tunes, cross country skiing and creek dipping.
MARI VON WALTHAUSEN
Mari has journeyed from a small rural Michigan town hither and yon trying to make some sense of this human community and all of its curious expectations, nonsensical routines, and destructive behaviors. Healing, helping and hoping have been the threads carried through work life from California to Maine, through Massachusetts and Montana. In some workshop long ago, there was a question, “What is your greatest accomplishment?” While others feverishly listed all the dollars they had saved their companies, the only answer which demanded to be written was, “My relationships with people are my greatest accomplishment.” She now adds to that her relationship to the Earth, the stars and all of creation. Leading others back to the Earth is now what her life is fashioned around, homesteading alongside her love, Rolf and their Waldhausen.
Sally Van Vleck
Sally Van Vleck is the executive director of the Neahtwanta Center, located on Old Mission peninsula in Traverse City, Michigan. She founded the center in 1987 with her late husband, environmental activist Bob Russell. They also worked as the co-innkeepers of the Neahtawanta Inn for the past 30 years. She has studied and taught yoga for 35 years. She is dedicated to bringing people together to work on issues relating to promoting community resilience, peace, and supporting the Earth's natural systems.
Joshua Davis is a beloved singer-songwriter from Michigan. He was raised in the folk tradition: the music, the social movements, the land. He writes songs that blend the roots of American music with gritty rock n' roll and vintage soul. Performing Songwriter Magazine calls the result, "Some of the liveliest and most rocking roots music around." Josh is especially interested in the ways in which music brings individuals and communities together to foster peace and understanding. In February of 2012, he travelled to Palestine and Israel with the non-profit On the Ground to participate as "cultural emissary" in the Run Across Palestine, a fund raising ultra-marathon in support of fair trade farming communities in the West Bank. Joshua lives with his lovely and brilliant wife along with their daughter and son, in Traverse City, Michigan.