Michigan GreenFriends

Dancing on the farm

In 2014, Michigan GreenFriends was fortunate to have Darren Doherty, (who is one of the world’s most experienced Permaculture Design professionals and Registered PDC teacher and has designed and developed over 1100 properties across 4 continents) teach and consult to adopt a permaculture design at the Michigan Amma Center.

This year, Michigan GreenFriends is in the process of implementing the design along with some very exciting new projects, like creating a tree nursery, propagating native trees, conducting sustainable practices educational programs for K-12 school students, and a CSA program. Every month, workshops have also been conducted.

  • May 3rd, 2015 – Permaculture Earthworks and Terraforming Course by Nate Ayers
  • June 6th, 2015 – Welcome to the Hive – Part 1 Beekeping Basics by Germaine Smith
  • June 14th, 2015 – Permaculture Food Forests – hands on installation course by Nate Ayers

At the May 3rd class, two ponds and a waterway were built to help with water retention on the property. Behind the little house, the way the land sloped, the runoff rain water from the main roads were gushing into the property creating big puddles by the big barn and seeping into it. A meandering riverway was created to halt this, and capture the water at the end of it. On the raised sides of the ponds as in the Hügelkultur method, vegetable seeds and saplings were planted on the meandering waterway. This Hugenkultur bed along with the curves of the waterway will reduce the rush of rain water from the road and stop the erosion and washing away of the soil. All along the sides of the waterway serviceberry and hazelnut trees were planted forming guilds. This area will be developed into a food forest in time.


K-12 students from the Summers Knoll School in Ann Arbor participated in two field trips to the property. The children toured the new earthwork installations, planted sunflowers in the kratergarten and tasted freshly harvested honey from the farm. They learned how to propagate new willow trees, discussed about working with nature, and "catching and storing energy" with solar panels in the Amma Center. More camps were conducted in the summer.

Unfortunately, our bees did not make it this past winter, but left us with a gift of about 80lbs of sweeeeet honey. 4 new hives have been placed in the orchard. Beekeeper Germaine Smith conducted a four part workshop series called, "Welcome to the Hive". This seasonal and incremental series focused on natural, biodynamic beekeeping methods. Also, she discussed the various stages of growth and development of the hives here, throughout the year and how best to manage them to ensure their optimal health and survival for the coming winter.

The first class of the series was held on June 6, "Welcome to the Hive Part 1 – Beekeeping Basics".The workshop was a three hour introductory exploration and hands on opportunity to learn about the lives of honeybees, the challenges they are facing today, and how they can be helped by particpants becoming natural beekeepers and/or pollinator advocates.

2011 to 2014

The Amma Center of Michigan (ACM) community joined hands and hearts to serve as stewards of Amma's beautiful Michigan land to work together on projects that will help ACM into the field of model demonstration sites that strive to create prosperity in harmony with Mother Earth and all living things.

More than 1,400 apple and fruit trees were planted with an organic, integrated holistic orchard management approach.  ACM hosted workshops from experts, mentors and masters. Two 250 gallon compost tea brewers were installed. Hundreds of Michigan native species, medicinals, edibles, soil builders and other beneficial plants for insects, birds and bunnies were planted. ACM has 112 solar panels installed which fulfill all of the on-site energy needs (plus excess shared back to the grid).

ACM activities have included:

  • Promoting green communities
  • Adopting wholesome and green practices for growing food
  • Training and workshops
  • Permaculture Design
  • Creating a one acre lake
  • Intsalling Swales/water catchment
  • Making compost tea
  • Promoting vegetable gardens on raised beds
  • Planting1400 Organic Apple trees, Michigan native plants and mushrooms
  • Raising bees, conducing bee Workshops and starting bee hives
  • Conducting a permaculture class in 2010
  • Implementing permaculture design in apple orchards in 2011
  • Building an organic, permaculture based vegetable garden

CSA Farm

Memorial Day begins the official planting season here in Michigan. The seedlings were raring to go...

This summer three students participatied in the Agri-science/organic farming research internships and helpied in the farm activities. The 1400 apple orchard was tended to by Ginette who is a Sustainable Horticulturist. The overall farm is managed by Nate who is a permaculture educator, designer and educator.

The Detroit area satsang is also committed to adopting wholesome and green practices for growing food. The produce is made available to the Amma center attendees and donated to area food banks.

Frequently the center also hosts experts from different fields in workshops.

We cherish and express our eternal gratitude for these blessings and for our infinite connection and devotion to serving Amma and Mother Nature with  joy.  Please visit us at ACM any time to check on the progress of our on-site projects as we continue to grow, find a project to volunteer on, or just walk the beautiful grounds and reconnect with nature! Full time and part time positions for those who would like to share in this venture.


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