9&10 News Cadillac Office Welcoming NanBop Farm, Supporting Sustainable Agriculture and Education
Heritage House, 9&10 News’ Cadillac Office, will look a bit different in the next year. The property will be adding a new farm and event center for the entire community to enjoy.
“The goal is for this to be an educational farm,” says Audrea Bushre, Director of Agriculture Operations. “So we’re going to have around five acres of vegetable production, two acres of orchard production. We’re going to have community garden, berry plot and then, of course, our event center, that’ll kind of be the hub of everything.”
The farm is named NanBop Farm. Heritage Broadcasting Company C.E.O., Pete Iacobelli, says the name is inspired by his parents, Mario and Jane.
“My kids call Grandma, Nana. They call my dad, Boppy,” says Iacobelli. “My parents influence on me and our family to try to provide resource and education, and give back to community, and to connect community through food and entertainment is something that is close to my heart. And so it’s kind of giving some respect for what my parents provided and created opportunities for us as a family.”
“Regenerative agriculture is really just a term that is honestly a new term, but it’s an old agriculture practice,” says Bushre. “It’s really just working with the land. We’re trying to compete with nature. Your kind of working with it. So if you have invasive species, we’re just going to cover crop and just try to work with the land and build up the soil to kind of make it what it should be.”
Bushre says the weed seed stores underground, dormant, for up to 20 years. Through tilling, the weeds will germinate before being killed off through another till, and the process continues until the seed store lowers.
“What we’re going to try to do here instead of tilling, because that disrupts the land and the organisms underneath, we’re going to try to cover crop and do just like a really heavy seeding of cover crops,” says Bushre.
Working with the ecosystem already in place protects the microorganisms that exist there.
“If you look at it, a spoonful of soil actually has like over 10,000 microorganisms in it,” says Bushre. “So the more you disrupt that soil, the more that you can potentially kill them or at least harm them. So by having this land under cover crop at all times and no land really exposed we’re kind of helping the organisms.”
Bushre says larger farms that practice regenerative farming can earn carbon credits for their efforts. But regenerative farming is something any size operation can do.
NanBop will be small to start. A way to make money and educate the public about agriculture is through Community Sourced Agriculture (CSA). It can help farmers produce income in the beginning of the season before produce.
“You have to generate some form of revenue to support a farming operation and you generate that revenue by growing scrumptious, delicious fruits, vegetables and herbs,” says Iacobelli. “Then you create opportunities by connecting with other artists and farmers in northern Michigan who have a specialty, or maybe they specialize in raising lamb or they specialize in doing honey production.”
The purpose of the event space, at the heart of the farm, is to entertain, educate and inform. This mission is also the beating heart of Heritage Broadcasting Company.
The farm will create food for the event space which will host artisans and farmers of a variety of crafts, across the region. They’ll be able to network with each other, teach their art and learn about the work at NanBop Farm.
“We have opportunities to help young people in our communities,” says Iacobelli. “If we provide a resource and educational fun resource where they see the value and can taste the value and then learn how to cook the value of growing a vegetable or fruit and being a part of that process, and that creates a more healthy community and it creates a more healthy society.”
“This is a space for the community, not necessarily for us,’ says Bushre. “In general, we want this place to be whatever the community wants it to be, because we’re only going to be as successful as the community around us.”