A guild is "an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal." In ecology it identifies a group of species that have similar requirements and play a similar role within a community. 
At Grow Benzie, we've helped connect groups of resourceful, like-minded people with one another: Beekeepers, Fiber Enthusiasts, Seed Savers, and Soil Builders. 

Grow Benzie Beekeepers Guild

Benzie bee guild

Northern Michigan is rich with beekeeping knowledge- from amateurs to professionals alike.  The passion for raising bees and understanding their importance to our ecosystem- particularly in our diverse agricultural region- is shared with our love of honey. The Benzie Bee Guild is a way to support each other and encourage participation to better serve each other and our little sisters, the bees.  By staying connected with one another, members have more access to information and tools to have success with their bees.

Monthly meeting topics include: spring tasks, hive assessments, feeding, mite identification and protection, equipment and bee ordering, regular maintenance, honey spinning, and winter preparation. Click here for updates. 

Seed Club at Grow Benzie

Benzie area
Seed SAVERS

Humans have been saving seeds since the beginning of time.  Grow Benzie has been saving seeds since the beginning of Grow Benzie.  With all the energy and interest in seeds throughout the area, Grow Benzie decided to organize a group of seed enthusiasts of all experience levels.  The goal of the group is to maintain a seed library at Grow Benzie, and offer regular events for folks opportunities to learn how to plant for seed harvesting, save seeds, and provide a venue to share stories and all aspects of the story of the seed.

The inspiration to start this group grew from the sharing of an ancient squash seed passed from the Miami tribe in Ohio and made its hands to some folks in northern Manistee County. The momentum was energized by new participants in 2017- including coordinator Kim Ison, to spearhead the creation of a Seed Library at Grow Benzie to help promote and preserve local heritage and heirloom seeds from area farmers. 

Benzie Composts at Grow Benzie

Benzie Composts

Grow Benzie understands the importance of healthy soil. We grow our own soil on site from plant cuttings, manure, leaves and grass from our property to help build the nutrients and grow healthier produce in our hoop houses.  In April 2015, Grow Benzie partnered with Benzie County Recycling and the Benzie Conservation District to create Benzie Composts, a community composting guild.  Participants have unlimited access to the drop-off site at Grow Benzie, located behind the blue pole barn.  Every spring participants receive a 4-gallon bucket of nutrient rich, composted soil to take home. For information, contact info@GrowBenzie.org or 231-882-9510

 YES

  • Fruit

  • Vegetables

  • Coffee grounds

  • Tea bags (staples ok)

  • eggshells

NO

  • Meat

  • Bones

  • Dairy

  • Grease/oil

  • Walnut shells (poisonous)

  • Help grow community food; use community compost; made from community food waste

  • Reduces solid waste stream

  • Good example for children and neighbors

  • Healthy plants grown from healthy soil look better, taste better, and have better ability to fight off disease and pests

  • Composted soil improves moisture retention

FIber Groups at Grow Benzie

ALL THINGS FIBER

ALL THINGS FIBER
In 2016, Grow Benzie hosted a Fiber Lovers Valentines Day Tea party and invited the entire fiber community- knitters, spinners, hookers, crocheters, sewers, loomers, weavers, quilters- to have some fun and celebrate their love of fiber and see who may be interested in sharing ideas to connect this loosely-knit community. Momentum grew, and before long the Benzie Spinners were meeting at Grow Benzie, a weekly knitting circle started (Wednesdays from 1-3pm), and more people were interested in leading (or participating in) classes in our Sewing Studio.

In September of 2016, Kathy Ross invited the public to a formal introduction of an International project she was looking to start at Grow Benzie called Days For Girls. More than 30 people were in attendance and the local chapter now has over 50 volunteers that help make reusable feminine hygiene kits for girls and women around the world. To date, Benzie Days for Girls has made over 1000 kits sent to a dozen locations around the world.  Click here to learn more.

In February 2017, Grow Benzie partnered with Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology for a potluck discussion and film viewing of "True Cost" – a documentary about the real price of fast fashion. From that community meeting of 30+ people, Emily Votruba decided to take the theoretical concept of a fibershed (similar to the function of a watershed and credited to Carol Laughing-Waters in Leelanau County) and turn the extra space in Grow Benzie's pole barn into an actual fiber shed.  Click here to learn more.