Four Seasons of Fresh Inspiration at Brighton’s Stone Coop Organic Farm & Learning Center

From left to right - Joannée (staff), Linda (working share), Beth (staff), Heidi (working share), Tim (staff) and Jake (staff), and we can't forget the farm dog, Roxy (she's staff too ).

From left to right - Joannée (staff), Linda (working share), Beth (staff), Heidi (working share), Tim (staff) and Jake (staff), and we can't forget the farm dog, Roxy (she's staff too ).

By Joannée DeBruhl

When my business partners and I bought the property that Stone Coop Farm lives on in November of 2011, I knew we had to save it as farmland for future generations. Our farm is on 30 acres, but it is zoned residential. 1000 new homes in four new subdivisions are being built on both sides of us. I can hear the excavation equipment every day. A wastewater treatment plant is being built and the high-pressure sewer line will be connecting these subdivisions along our property line. Developers are approaching us to sell the farm, so that more homes can be built. The value of our land is increasing as residential lots, not as farmland. I know my mission is to save the farm, but that often feels like an insurmountable task, given what’s going on around me.

I was faced with the mounting pressure to sell our farmland for development to help pay off our loans, but in 2014 I had an epiphany. It was a grey and cold winter day. I was concerned about how to make the farm profitable and felt the job of saving the farm and paying off our loans was just too gigantic for me to accomplish. I imagined writing a check to get us completely out of debt. I then took a deep breath and submerged myself in what it would feel like if I owned the farm outright. I looked out my window and the snow started to fall; big fat snowflakes. My mind jumped to the thought “Stone Coop Farm will bless as many people as these snowflakes.” The more I let it sink in, the more joy I felt. I knew I could do this.

The idea of creating a nonprofit working farm and learning center started to germinate. We had been supporting new farmers for years through our scholarship program, so they could attend Michigan State’s Organic Farmer Training Program. We had been supporting our community with classes, events, presentations, donations, and collaborations since we started in 2011. I had been so focused on my efforts to continue supporting our community, that I forgot that our community is here to support us as well. I realized that my Succession Plan for Stone Coop did not require me to buy the land personally. We could create a nonprofit that would allow our community to ensure the longevity of Stone Coop. I could continue to train new farmers how to be successful business owners. I could help my staff become audacious, entrepreneurial business owners, so that one day, when I am ready to retire, there will be someone already associated with Stone Coop Farm that can take over. 

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Did you know that the average age of U.S. farmers is almost 60 and our farmland is disappearing at an alarming rate? So much so, that the U.S. State Department and USDA are concerned about our national food security. If we lose our farmland to residential and commercial development, where will we grow our food? Additionally, new farmers are having a difficult time finding affordable farmland. Many farmers’ children don’t want to farm, so their land and that generational knowledge of how to farm is being lost. I didn’t want this to happen to Stone Coop.

Besides being a nonprofit working farm, we also offer Working Shares. Each season we offer 25 to 30 Working Shares where folks work two hours a week, from April through October. In return they receive a Market Share to buy produce, meat, eggs, and anything else we have at the farm. These folks are amazing! They come from all walks of life and all ages, from families with little kids to retirees. They help us in so many ways; weeding, watering, harvesting, carpentry, spreadsheet entry, advertising, deliveries, etc. They bring a joy and enthusiasm to the farm that makes it a vibrant community of people making this world a better place to live. 

We offer loads of classes and events too. We have two beautiful spaces available that are used for summer camps, nature art collages, storytelling, earning scout badges, music, and other adventures on the farm. Our covered outdoor pavilion is where we offer our on-farm markets. Our beautifully restored 1907 barn, which we moved here from a farm near Jackson, MI, is also perfect for hosting events such as workshops, weddings, birthdays, graduations, and more. Farm Classes are offered all year and include topics like gardening, raising backyard chickens, fermentation, cooking, and nutrition. We also offer homeschool classes and field trips, bee and farm tours, events for kids, and host school groups. 

Stone Coop understands that all farmers need community support. That is why we partner with four certified organic meat farmers to sell their meat at our farm stand. We offer their pastured raised chicken, beef, pork, lamb and turkey as well as our own certified organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, and heritage breed chickens and eggs. We have four hoop houses that allow us to grow and sell produce all year long and offer honey, sprouts, and fermented products from local farmers too.

At the beginning of March 2018, I woke up early on a Friday morning inspired. I just love when that happens! The day before we had a huge snowstorm. When the storm started, the snowflakes were the size of golf balls. My blue baseball cap quickly became white as those fat snowflakes fell on my head and melted on my face. It snowed all day and all night. The snow was almost ten inches deep that morning and my swing outside was a picture postcard. Those big snowflakes were a reminder of all the blessings Stone Coop Farm is going to receive and all the blessings we will provide in return. Those snowflakes helped me remember that our community wants to support us. We just need to ask for help. Together we will have a global impact on our food system and on our planet.


2019 classes at Stone Coop Farm:

2019 Classes at Stone Coop Farm

9615 Musch Rd, Brighton 48116



as of September 14, 2018


Farm Tours – Visit our certified organic vegetable farm and see how we can grow all year in Michigan.  We will teach you about organic growing, tour the farm and let you taste our incredible produce.  You’ll also get the chance to hold one of our heritage breed chickens. 

Fee: $10 per person        Time: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM             Min. attendees: 10, Max. 40 people       

Last Saturday of Each Month – 1/26, 2/23. 3/30, 4/27, 5/25/19                  


Group Tours Also Available – School field trips, garden clubs, scouts, home school groups, senior centers, etc.  Please call 810-599-50176 to schedule your group tour.


Make Your Own Organic Lip Balm 

Join us in this hands-on workshop.  You will learn to make your own all natural lip balm with essential oils.  After a discussion about the different ingredients and our recipe, you will make and package your own tubes to take home (4 tubes each).

Fee: $35          Dates:  1/26/19          Time:  9:00 AM – 11:00  AM  Min: 10  Max: 20



Learn the basics of raising chickens. Focus will include caring for your baby chicks, and to what to do as they grow older and start laying eggs.  We will look at waterers, feeding, egg washing, and coops.  We’ll also talk about predators and fences. 

Fee: $50          Date:  3/9/19 & 4/6/19          Time:  12:30 pm to 2:30 pm  Min: 10, Max. 20 


Grow Your Own Garden SERIES 

Do you want to start a garden, learn how to grow with organic methods or start your own seedlings?  Join us for one or all three of our garden series classes taught by Joannée DeBruhl, owner of Stone Coop Farm.  All classes will be held in our greenhouse.  SAVINGS – Take all 3 classes for $120 and save $15.  


Planning Your Own Garden
Learn spacing and light requirements for different crops, when they should be planted outside and started inside.  We will work through a simple raised bed planting guideline. We will also review which crops grow best by directly sowing seeds outside and which work best with seedlings. 
Fee: $35          Dates:  3/9/19 or 3/23/19        Time:  9:00 AM to 11:00 AM  Min: 10  Max: 20


Start Your Own Seedlings 
If you want to have organically grown seedlings for your garden, you can buy them directly from us or you can start your own at our Seed Starting Class.  We will provide you with the soil, trays, domes, and skills to start your own seedlings.  You will be able to choose from the seeds we use on the farm or use your own.  Class includes 50 soil blocks, with a tray, clear plastic dome, and seeds.  Additional soil blocks, trays, potting soil and pots are available for an additional fee.

Fee: $65          Dates:  4/6/19 or 4/20/19     Time:  9:00 AM to 11:00 AM              Min: 10, Max. 20

Planting and Weeding Your Garden  
This class is hands on, so plan to get dirty. We will show you to prepare your soil, let you try simple tools that make gardening and weeding easier, and have you plant several crops so you k now what to do with your own.  We will also show you how you can get a jump on the growing season.

Fee: $35          Dates:  5/4/19 or 5/11/19     Time:  9:00 AM to 11:00 AM              Min: 10, Max. 20


Come visit the farm and learn about how organic farming is supporting our bee populations.  Jennifer Hansen, our neighbor and beekeeper, will be joining us on this tour to share important facts about bees.  Taste tests of our organic produce and honey will be included in this tour.  Tour lasts about 2 hours.

Fee: $15/person        Time: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM     Dates: 4/20/19 & 5/11/19    

Min attendees: 10, Max. 40  

Group Tours Also Available School field trips, garden clubs, scouts, home school groups, senior centers, etc.  Please call 810-599-50176 to schedule your group tour.



Learn about fermented foods with Samantha Gardner, a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner, who has been teaching the art of food and beverage fermentation for four years.  These workshops will include live (optional hands on) demonstration, food to sample, plenty of time for Q&A’s, and recipes. 

Fee:  $35               Time: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm       Min: 6, Max. 20


Dates:      3/16/19 – Kombucha:  First and Second Fermentation Process. Additional $30 kit fee paid at class for 1 Gallon Glass Kombucha Starter Kit.    Registration Deadline – 3/12/19 to allow instructor enough time to create kombucha kits.


4/13/19 – Water & Coconut Kefir Lacto Fermented Granola:  Water kefir is a simple probiotic rich beverage to make.  Lacto Fermented Granola is a process of activating the grains making them easy to digest.   Kefir grains, recipe guide, and granola are included with class. 


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The Stone Coop farm stand is open to the public every Wednesday from 4:00 PM to 6:00PM and Saturday from 9:00AM to Noon. Please visit their website  at for their calendar of events, and to register for classes. The farm is located at 9615 Musch Rd, Brighton, MI 48116 or give them a call at 810-599-5017. 

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