Diversity Farm is a biological farm. Biological farming is inclusive of organic farming practices, but goes beyond by cooperating with nature and using modern agricultural science to bring balance between the physical soil structure, chemical nutrients, and biological life of the soil. Restoring balance results in the reduction and elimination of chemical pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides, whether organic or conventional, and further results in an active living soil that supports the whole farm as a working ecosystem. This system eventually reduces the need for fertilizer inputs by increasing active microbial life in the soil. A healthy ecosystem, like a healthy body, is self-supporting and self-sustaining, but restoring balance is and always will be a multi-generational effort. Ultimately, healthy plants, soils, animals, and people are a healthy ecosystem.
Whose Farm is this?
Atlee and Mary Yoder own and operate Diversity Farm along with their 13 children. The farm is on 80 acres of pasture and tillage nestled in a large Old Order Amish community in Morley, Michigan. Diversity Farm has been offering a successful vegetable CSA program for over 10 years and is home to a small dairy herd, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and some dogs and cats.
Atlee serves as chapter leader for the local Big Rapids chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. As a constant student of agronomy, he is active in his own community as a resource for learning biological farming methods as well as a distributor of products which support those methods. Like many Amish community members, Atlee learned to use conventional farming practices, but after acquiring his own farm over a decade ago, he was dissatisfied with the results on both his own health and his farm products which led him to study other methods of caring for his land and his health by trying to understand the causes of disease instead of treating the visible symptoms. The result of his ongoing study and teaching has been a thriving small farm that continues to grow in productivity and capacity for supporting life in all its forms.
So... Who's Operating the Website?
Ryan and Kathryn Doran-Fisher have been working with Atlee and Mary for over 10 years delivering milk, produce, and a variety of other products. They've even pulled a few weeds from time to time and harvested some produce for the CSA. They haven't yet received an invitation to milk a cow but Kathryn did get to ride in a buggy once.
Ryan started a small delivery group from Morley to Mt. Pleasant, MI in 2005 to make picking up his own farm products more efficient. He did this on the side while working as a philosophy teacher and training as a Zen Buddhist clergy member. With his wife Kathryn, he built an urban farm in Mt. Pleasant and helped run Maggie's Farm, a cooperative CSA.
After moving to Grand Rapids, MI in 2011, Ryan switched his delivery route to service families in the Grand Rapids area. He soon found himself maxing out the delivery potential for one day and expanding to a second.
In 2018, Ryan started working regular hours in the warehouse at MedBio during the day so Kathryn took over the management, accounting, and delivery. The small delivery business currently serves about 25 families and supplies the local organic artisan bread bakery, Field and Fire, and Love's Ice Cream with eggs from other Amish community members.
This website represents an effort to continue expanding our ability to offer farm products from Diversity Farm and open up consumer direct markets for other Amish community members.