Students help with local harvest

Emily Pagel

NMU organization volunteers at local farm

On Saturday, Sept. 21, a group of 20 Tree Musketeer student organization members and NMU students made their way to Seeds & Spores, a family-run organic farm in Skandia, to volunteer and learn first-hand the workings of local farming in Marquette County.

Senior outdoor recreation major Jasmine Dewys (right) of the Tree Musketeers helps to harvest plants with environmental science major, junior Summer Star (left) at Seeds & Spores in Skandia on Saturday, Sept. 21. (Photo: Kristen Koehler)
Senior outdoor recreation major Jasmine Dewys (right) of the Tree Musketeers helps to harvest plants with environmental science major, junior Summer Star (left) at Seeds & Spores in Skandia on Saturday, Sept. 21. (Photo: Kristen Koehler)

Seeds & Spores is a family-oriented farm that grows sustainable and organic food, while also raising grass-fed beef, pigs and chickens. After their main production barn burned down on Monday, July 8, Seeds & Spores has been receiving extensive support through community donations and volunteer work.

Seeds & Spores farm hand Ali York said the community support for their farm has been exceptional after the fire this summer, and that it’s great to see support on a student level.

“It’s really amazing to me to see a huge show of community support,” York said. “It’s always fun to see some new faces out here and we want to thank the students for that.”

The Tree Musketeers and other student volunteers received a tour of the farm to see how the farm works, including what they do on a daily basis, and also got some hands-on harvesting experience.

Will Mulligan, junior environmental science major and vice president of the Tree Muskeeters, said the opportunity was different from what their organization usually focuses on and really drew attention to the group members.

“I work at the food co-op, and some of the farm hands of Seeds & Spores come in all the time,” Mulligan said. “I told them ‘Hey, I’ve got a big group of friends that might want to come out’ so I brought it up in the meeting and here we are.”

During their afternoon spent at Seeds & Spores, students helped cultivate and bag potatoes, harvest leeks and clean onions in preparation for packaging.

Despite the rainy weather, there was nothing but positivity among those volunteering at Seeds & Spores, according to Mulligan.

“We definitely will be doing more volunteer work in the community, rather it be this farm or another farm I think everyone was pretty down with it,” Mulligan said. “It’s a pretty good step for our organization and a great experience in checking out farm life.”

There were also several students who participated that were not part of the organization.

Laci Hofweber, a student from Ashland, Ore., also came to help support Seeds & Spores while visiting Marquette.

“The Tree Musketeers are all coming out here and supporting the community especially in an organic farm that could use a hand,” Hofweber said. “I think that it’s pretty interesting that students are organizing it and actually coming out here to help. You don’t see a lot students doing that, especially where I’m from.”

Andrew Adamski, junior ecology major, heard about the volunteer opportunity briefly before the organization left for the farm that morning and decided it was a good opportunity.

“(Mulligan) told me about it and said they were looking for help with the harvest, so I thought I would come and help fill a farmer out,” said Adamski. “It’s really cool to see the way that they’re farming and they’re doing a great job out here.

“It’s awesome to see that there are people like this in Marquette. This is the start of something good. More people are going to catch on and see that this is a good way to do things.”

Other local organizations and businesses also began gathering donations and contributing their time to help the farm in the wake of the barn fire earlier this year. Among them was Blackrocks Brewery, which brewed a Seeds and Spores organic India pale ale, of which $1 of every pint sold would benefit the rebuilding of the barn and replacement of the materials lost in the fire.

Students interested in volunteering can visit Seeds and Spores from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The farm is located at 724 Greenfield Rd. in Marquette. For more information about Seeds and Spores visit their website at www.seedsandspores.com or contact them at 906-458-8616. The Tree Musketeers meet at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays in the Gant Hall lobby. They plan weekly hikes and weekend camping trips year-round. For more information about the Tree Musketeers contact Vito Giannola at [email protected]