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The Thomason family urban farm – Michigan

tomasin“The Thomason family has been farming in the same part of Richland Parish Louisiana for almost two-hundred years, but our 1/10th acre urban eco-micro farm is located in historic downtown Ypsilanti, Michigan. We are located just a few miles east of Ann Arbor. We raise Mini-Nubian-Nigerian-Dwarf goats for milk and meat, Hubbard ISA Brown French hens for eggs, and Lionhead Dwarf rabbits as pets. We grow organic vegetables for sale including: garlic, mixed salad greens, kale, spinach, Amish paste and Sungold cherry tomatoes, broccoli, peppers and various squashes.”

Collective efforts

Metro Times
April 9, 2009

At first glance, Ypsilanti resident Peter Thomason and his family don’t have a lot in common with the residents of the Detroit collective known as Trumbullplex.

Thomason, who’s in his mid-50s, is a politically conservative, NRA card-carrying, churchgoing father of 10 who teaches construction management at Eastern Michigan University. Trumbullplex, on the city’s near west side, is an anarchist housing collective and show space inhabited by 11 people (at the moment), none of whom are older than 30. And none of them, it’s safe to say, belongs to the NRA.

Both households would be living as they do regardless of the economic crisis currently under way. But each, in its own way, offers an example of how to withstand hard times, through collective effort.

Thomason and his wife, Rebecca, a nurse, have been urban farmers for more than three decades. “But we definitely have ramped things up in recent years,” Peter says.

Their back yard in downtown Ypsi features a new greenhouse constructed of “scavenged and recycled” material. There’s also a small barn that shares the same low-cost materials. It houses chickens, rabbits and four small goats, which produce milk.

Growing is also done at the homes of four of the Thomason brood. This year, for the first time, crops will also be grown on nearby land owned by a friend. With each site producing what it’s best suited for it — based on sunlight and soil quality — they grow potatoes and onions, squash and melons, greens and herbs and mushrooms, wine grapes and more. What the family doesn’t eat is sold at a local farmers’ market.

The effort takes a lot of work. Peter Thomason figures he puts in a couple hours every day doing chores. And that’s just him. And there are other hassles: The family is currently in court fighting for the right to continue raising their goats in the heart of the city.

Thomason says that he’s long believed in the value of cooperative effort, and in the sort of sustainable approach to life that’s now getting renewed attention as the economic crisis and the climate crisis converge to bring the problems that created them — and the solutions that can help address them — into focus.

“Things don’t have to be bigger to be better,” he says.

See the complete article here.

See the Thomason Family Farm web site here.