The farm Blue Stone Farm is a 12 acre farm near Otsego, Michigan. We have a system of permanent beds on about 2.5 of those acres in which we intensively raise a diverse variety of vegetables using methods that are aimed at sustainability.
The farmers Mark and Brenda Cowell began farming in Michigan in 2011. Mark grew up in Kalamazoo, then spent 20 years as a professor of biogeography and landscape ecology until he decided it was time to more fully practice what he had been teaching. Brenda was raised in central Indiana and has many fond memories of her grandparents’ farm. She studied life sciences and forest ecology, and also works as a database consultant.
Our growing practices We focus on improving the quality and health of the soil that we grow in to encourage the health of our plants and the nutrient density of our produce. We are Certified Naturally Grown, which means we follow a strict set of protocols and never use any chemical pesticides, herbicides or GMOs. We practice no-till methods on our beds to encourage the benefits and fertility that a minimally disturbed soil ecosystem (including microbes, fungi & earthworms) can provide. We also incorporate cover crops into our growing rotation to build soil and limit weeds. By growing a wide diversity of crops and creating a diverse farm landscape, we attract pollinators and other beneficial organisms.
Our name Blue Stone Farm is named for the many reminders left by the glaciers that helped form our fields – the cobblestones that our hoes often find. It is also a shoutout to Mark’s prior profession as a geographer and to our love of the big blue stone we all live on and share.