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Field School - Summer

  • Bear Creek Organic Farm 4012 Atkins Road Petoskey, MI, 49770 United States (map)

Crosshatch Field Schools are hands-on, on-farm learning days—going beyond the basics to support intermediate learners, but friendly enough for homestead-scale growers. Field Schools offer experienced instructors and small group sizes, with both classroom time and field work for an in-depth education. Included is a local food lunch and a post-workshop social hour to continue the discussion in an informal way.

Field School Summer is hosted by Bear Creek Organic Farm and Spirit of Walloon Market Garden, and features these three tracks:

  • Hoophouse Tomatoes and Cucumbers with Brian Bates of Bear Creek Organic Farm

  • Advanced Beekeeping with Ana Heck, Pollination research technologist at Michigan State University

  • Cut Flowers with Rachel Cross of Spirit of Walloon Market Garden


Field School Summer Line-up
9:30 to 10:00 am: Coffee and greeting
10 am to 12:30 pm: Morning Sessions
12:30 to 1:30 pm: Local lunch
1:30 to 4:00 pm: Afternoon Sessions
4:00 to 5:00 pm: Social hour with drinks and snacks 

Choose from one of three tracks:
Hoophouse Tomatoes and Cucumbers with Brian Bates of Bear Creek Organic Farm: Growing vining crops inside a hoophouse opens up a whole new world. Learn how to get the most out of your tomatoes and cucumbers in the hoophouse with Brian Bates—owner of Bear Creek, one of the most productive farms in the state. Brian will take you into their six different hoophouses and show you how they trellis tomatoes to be eight feet tall and grow super straight cukes. You will get hands-on practice trellising and pruning and harvesting. (PLEASE NOTE: due to phytosanitary restrictions, tobacco users of any kind should not enroll in this class.)

Advanced Beekeeping with Ana Heck, Pollination research technologist at Michigan State University: This one is for intermediate beekeepers with at least two years of experience. Tailored for Northern Michigan beekeepers, this workshop covers the pests and diseases specific to honey bees in our region, and offers a focus on how to prepare hives for winter to reduce colony loss. Also learn how understanding honey bee pheromones—an essential part of hive communication—can make you a stronger beekeeper. Includes hands-on time in a productive apiary, so bee suits are required.

Flowers with Rachel Cross of Spirit of Walloon Market Garden: The market for flowers is shifting toward the local. Learn how to add gorgeous, ecologically-grown flowers to your operation, either for wholesale markets, event-based sales, or just for your own pleasure. Rachel will cover selection, propagation and the all-important harvest and post-harvest handling techniques, and discuss growing tips for field, hoophouse and greenhouse. See the fruits of your knowledge you gathered with your own fresh cut flowers by this time next year.


Pricing: Thanks to the USDA and other grantmakers, as well as business sponsors, the ticket cost to you is far below the actual cost of running this event. If we received no subsidies and relied entirely on tickets to cover costs, each person would need to pay $175 to attend.

We recognize that that price is not feasible for many farmers, students, seniors, and folks with limited income. However, if you are able to pay $175, know that you are helping to keep the cost down for those who can’t afford it, and investing in future Crosshatch events and programs.

Our regular price is $87. If we sold every ticket at this price, plus our grant and sponsorship dollars, we would break even.

Our scholarship rate is $48. We categorize this as beginning farmers (first three years of operation, or a farm hand), students, seniors, activists and others with highly limited income. This is an honor system—you do not need to fill out a form or contact us to apply for this scholarship—please don’t abuse it.

Tickets for Field School Summer are on sale through July 14th.