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2014 LET’S GET LLOOFing…  and grow more Traverse City Neighborhood & Community Gardens!

The 2014 LLOOF (Learning Local on Organic Farms) program is gearing up for another season of growing, learning and sharing, and is offering an opportunity to area youth through adults to participate in a “grow your own” food and gardening experience in Grand Traverse County.

Download the application here:

Beginning in 2003, O’k CSA has worked to develop a model apprentice/intern/mentoring program along with the support of Little Artshram to offer a comprehensive garden-farming educational experience, and fresh way to change our lifestyle and behaviors as a community of consumers.  The focus of our garden-farming programs are linked to building a local Traverse City food shed, sharing, celebrating and strengthening our NW Michigan and Traverse City community via these neighborhood/community garden learning and gathering places.

General info. about O’k CSA and Market Garden, and the LLOOF Program
O’k CSA, and our supportive partner, Little Artshram, celebrates our 8th year as TC’s first Urban CSA involving area youth and adults as market garden-farmers.

In 2014, we continue to work towards tweaking and making improvements, and have begun creating a “Cooperative CSA”.  Expanding beyond growing annual and perennial food in our 3 garden-farm sites in Traverse City, we also include other local CSA’s as cooperative partners, combining their arts, crafts, produce and farm products in our weekly Market Garden and O’k CSA shares, beginning in June through September at our Peace Patch garden site on the corner of 7th and Oak Streets.

The LLOOF (Learning Local on Organic Farms) program which works in tandem w. O’k CSA, will continue to provide a work-exchange and permaculture training with green-collar jobs for older youth through adults.

The LLOOF project is based on providing opportunities for beginning gardeners/farmers interested in learning how to grow food—both perennial and annual crops adding a business/entrepreneurial aspect through the concept of CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. On a CSA farm, buyers invest up front in a full season of vegetables. The commitment of the sponsors and shareholders to the farmer stabilizes the farmer’s income, assures subscribers of fresh, healthy, local produce, and distributes agricultural rewards and risks fairly within the community.  This popular economic model establishes a practical and mutually beneficial relationship between farmers and subscribers, building a strong community as a result.

The LLOOF project has four main areas of experiential learning: 

Education. Older youth through adults will participate in securing commitment of sponsors and shareholders, receive hands-on training in basic intensive urban gardening and permaculture techniques, including soil preparation and conditioning, seedling cultivation, use of nutrients and organic fertilizers, composting, water collection, pest and weed education, harvesting and preparing and marketing food for sale.


Some of the Gardening and recycling methods, that will be initiated this year, and are common to permaculture include edible landscaping, keyhole gardening, companion planting, trellising, sheet mulching, chicken tractors, solar greenhouses, spiral herb gardens, swales, and vermi-composting.

Production and Profitability.  More than just a teaching garden, the garden farm sites are cultivated by O’k CSA and LLOOF participants and will be designed for production and profitability, hence demonstrating the viability of “green collar” jobs in small-scale agriculture. And we will eat from our garden, tasting and understanding what we are growing!

Mentorship.  Participants will be mentored in gardening and permaculture practices by experienced, professional gardeners and farmers from throughout the Grand Traverse region.  They will further develop mentoring skills as they work alongside younger students in special field trips through Little Artshram’s Permaculture Summer Camp program for children 5 years and older.

Sustainability.  O’k CSA and LLOOFers will work together to design this year’s program to feed into and support next year’s market garden record-keeping, and, develop a sustainable business plan, with ample startup funds. The LLOOF crew will work with O’k CSA, understanding the organizational structure and framework that Little Artshram provides as the non-profit sponsor.  All LLOOFers will be offered compensation based on profits from Market sales, daily/weekly permaculture educational opportunities and fresh weekly produce as work-exchange compensation. Participants will also be invited to attend the North American Permaculture Convergence (Late August, in Minnesota) and series of permaculture trainings will also be offered to LLOOFers to choose from, August – November, 2013 in NW and SE Michigan.

About the LLOOF work-exchange and the 2014 O’k CSA offerings:

Youth 16 years and older, along with adults, work “green-collar” jobs as LLOOFers (Learning Local on Organic Farms) with O’k CSA,  growing food at three + urban garden farms In Traverse City.

To download a pdf application for the 2014 LLOOF program click here:

The LLOOF project works with O’k CSA and this year, will be offering Full and Half-size shares of fresh vegetables, herbs and flower bouquets, as well as sponsorships, beginning in June, through the season (We predict 12 full weeks) with pick-up on Friday’s at the O’k Market at our Peace Patch garden farm site on the corner of 7th and Oak St., Traverse City.  To become a 2014 O’k CSA Cooperative shareholder, download a pdf member form here:

Our Market Garden CSA goals:
~To create green collar jobs, through the LLOOF program, working with and eating REAL, fresh, local, food.
~To learn and apply permaculture and perennial growing practices in our garden.
~To help our business grow and continue successfully into 2015 and beyond.
~To assist and inspire growing more garden farms in the TC area.
~And, to provide good food for good people!

DOWNLOAD the 2014 LLOOF Application here: