Katie Brandt teaches the Organic Farmer Training Program, a 50/50 mix of field and classroom activities where beginning and aspiring farmers build skills and a plan for their future farms. She also teaches HRT251 "Organic Farming: Principles and Practices", an introduction to organic agriculture for undergraduates. She leads the Michigan Sustainable Farm Mentors Program, which connects beginning and aspiring farmers with experienced Michigan farmers through a series of phone/zoom meetings. Katie is also working with the USDA-SARE State Plan to develop a map of beginning farmer training programs in Michigan.
Katie grew up on 80 acres of woods and wetlands in Michigan and continued to enjoy nature when she moved to Ann Arbor for college. This led her to work at organic farms in Tennessee, southern Michigan, Lansing, Grant and Jenison and to co-found Groundswell Community Farm in 2006. The farm grew from 2 farmers tilling bare land with hand tools into a viable business employing 10 farmworkers and 3 tractors to grow over $200,000 of vegetables annually from about 7 acres. During that time, she also attended GVSU where she completed her MS in Biology and designed an on-farm research project about organic controls for Striped Cucumber Beetles. After much thought and introspection in 2016, Katie listed the farm for sale, to pursue opportunities in farm education and advocacy.
Teaching allows Katie to expand on the farmworker trainings she developed at Groundswell. She especially enjoys working alongside aspiring farmers to translate their skills and vision into attainable goals for real, working farms and agricultural endeavors.
New video series shares tips for farmers selling to local restaurants, retailers and institutions
Published on January 24, 2023
SARE resources available to everyone
Published on January 4, 2023
Toolkit for starting a great farm mentorship program
Published on December 21, 2022
Congratulations to the 2022 MSU Organic Farmer Training Program graduates!
Published on November 21, 2022
Visit 26 innovative farms with new farmers in the MSU Organic Farmer Training Program
Published on October 31, 2022
Michigan SARE Mini Grants support training for farm educators
Published on October 26, 2022
MSU Organic Farmer Training Program now in Detroit and East Lansing
Published on September 16, 2022
Grants available for sustainable agriculture research and education
Published on September 6, 2022
Sign up now for the 2022 MSU Organic Farmer Training Program
Published on January 31, 2022