Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference — Oral History Project

At this year's Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference, we invited farmers, eaters, and food producers to tell their stories. The Traverse Area District Library (TADL) was there to record the stories as part of their project: Food for Life on Two Peninsulas. The project is now up on their site for the public to listen to! Gather 'round the speakers and settle in for some good stories.

From the TADL: 

TADL Introduces New Oral History Collection Featuring Michigan-based Food Producers

February 29, 2016 (Traverse City, MI) — Traverse Area District Library (TADL), in partnership with Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology (formerly ISLAND), has released Food for Life on Two Peninsulas: Stories from Old Farm Families, Migrant Workers, and the New Food Producers of Grand Traverse Bay, an oral history project developed and curated by TADL staff and volunteers. The purpose of the project is to document the impact of the local food economy and focus on a central question; “What has becoming a regional “foodie” destination meant to the people and farms in our communities?”

TADL staff and volunteers conducted interviews with food producers and developers attending the 2016 Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference held on January 30, and executed by Crosshatch and partnering organizations. Interview subjects for the project range from former Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) owners to pioneers in regenerative farm animal grazing practices. Representing food producers from communities throughout Michigan, the interviews documented a variety of experiences, longevity, and spoke to each of their roles contributing to the local food economy.

"Seasoned farmers and greenhorns alike will find these oral histories contain an enthusiasm for locally-produced, responsible food, that draws our passionate statewide food community together. We are grateful to Crosshatch for the opportunity to gather these personal stories, and we look forward to adding more in the future," said organizer Amy Barritt, Special Collections Librarian at TADL.

There are ten interviews available posted online. For more information, and to listen to these oral histories, please visit TADL's Local History Collection's website, or contact the Reference Department at 231-932-8502 or