Mary Colborn of Allegan was doing permaculture before most of the rest of us even heard of it.
Mary Colborn “Honoring the Past, Healing the Present, Nurturing the Future”
About ten years ago, Mary Colborn converted her family farm near Allegan. It’s now the Allegan Eco Farm, also known as the Allegan Historic Farm and Learning Center. Her purpose is to “farm for soil fertility, water retention, and carbon sequestration.”
Mary’s farming practices emphasize vermiculture, composting, beekeeping, and efficient crop choices and placement: ancient grains and field crops, mushrooms, honey, maple syrup, and fresh fruits and vegetables with higher nutritional value and no petrochemical contaminants. Her methods can…
- improve soil fertility instead of using it up.
- retain water in the soil.
- collect rather than emit carbon (carbon sequestration).
- increase the nutritional value of her crops.
- cut the need for fossil fuels, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides.
You can learn Mary Colborn’s methods
Mary believes in honoring the past with these methods while working to heal the present, but that’s not enough activism for her. Nurturing the future is just as important. That’s where the “Learning Center” part fits in. Mary offers classes in composting, vermiculture, and other aspects of her Eco Farming philosophy. Passing along what she’s learned and promoting the Allegan Historic Farm’s methods and values is important to Mary and important to the Earth.
Her most recent presentation was a vermiculture and composting class on Saturday, May 16. Mary showed her audience an easy and inexpensive (practically free!) way to save grocery money by growing tastier and healthier veggies and more, and save money and nurture the soil by eliminating ultimately harmful commercial fertilizers and pesticides, plus avoid contributing to our over-filled landfills.
The Sierra club’s Southwest Michigan Group sponsored the event at the Allegan Historic Farm and Learning Center at 2566 122nd Avenue, Allegan, Michigan, and treated Mary’s guests to a sack lunch from Mugshots Coffee House.