Senior Inspector

Blandford Nature Center Farm

Owner: Liz Visser

Address:
1715 Hillburn Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Kent County

daytime phone: (616) 735-6240
evening phone: (616) 460-0639
Web site: http://blandfordnaturecenter.org/

Application Date: 2022-05-03

Farming History

Your Name *
Elizabeth Visser
For how many years have you managed or worked on a CNG-certified farm? *
5
How many years of experience total do you have managing a farming operation that’s managed according to CNG/organic principles (whether certified or not)? *
5
Please indicate the place/s where you have farmed, including farm name, town, state, and country. *
Blandford Nature Center Farm - Farm Manager since 2018 (Grand Rapids, MI, USA) Nature's Pace Organics - Farmhand, 2014 season (Mayville, MI, USA) Love House Dahlias - WWOOFER, 2013 (Ventura, CA, USA) Yokna Bottom Farm - WWOOFER, 2013 (Oxford, MS, USA) A Wrinkle In Thyme Farm - WWOOFER, 2013 (Sumner, ME, USA)

Types of Farming & Expertise

Please check the box corresponding to the types of operations with which you have at least three years of experience.












What type of training have you received in farming practices (on-farm and off-farm)? *
Most of my training I have gotten from first hand experience, working directly with other farmers as a WWOOFER and farmhand, and then through trial and error (and successes, too!) as a farm manager. There are several farm books that I have found to be helpful and influential in how I think about farm management, one of the most helpful being "Managing Cover Crops Profitably- 3rd Edition" by SARE. I consult this book every season. MSU Agricultural Extension has also been an invaluable resource. I have also received the FSMA food safety training, through the MSU extension.
Please briefly describe your experience with mentoring, training, or advising other farmers, if any.
I hire two seasonal farm crew members each year, many are drawn to the job specifically because they want experience for starting their own farm. I try to tailor the tasks they do to their interests as much as possible, so the experience they get at the farm is relevant to their long term goals. I also am part of the West Michigan Growers Group, and have helped to coordinate get togethers for farmers in the area to share knowledge, give farm tours to other farmers, and in general build a sense of community. I have helped to coordinate group soil orders, and have made myself available to share my experience with other farmers who ask me about sources for supplies, experience with certain soil amendments, etc.
What aspect of your farming operation are you most proud of? *
I am proud of the garlic crop that I have been cultivating for the past five years, passed on to me by the previous farm manager. It's one of the few crops we seed save for, and I'm proud of both the quality of the crop, as well as its history. I am proud in general of the methods we use to grow vegetables, I am constantly seeking to improve my field management strategies and techniques to be more sustainable.
What aspect of your farming operation are you most known for? (This could be a particular crop beloved by customers or an uncommon production method that other farmers would appreciate.) *
We are well known for our greens mixes and lettuce heads, and garlic. We also are known for trying unique varieties such as Jerusalem Artichokes, edible flowers, and herbs. We also have a lot of folks who enjoy our early season cherry tomatoes grown in the greenhouse.
What do you appreciate about Certified Naturally Grown?
I appreciate being able to see and learn about other grower's farms. It's really cool to see how other small scale farmers approach managing their space, I've learned about some really cool tools and techniques at the same time that I've been certified or inspecting.
You may use this space to tell us anything else you think we should know.