Our Community


Love for the land, our families, our friends and our food – that’s what fuels our CommonGround community. Scroll down to learn where our volunteers are located, or Contact Us to get involved.

CommonGround Michigan

Melanie Block

Conklin, Michigan

Our Farm: pigs, produce, sheep

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, agriscience teacher

My Hobbies: baking, gardening, overall fitness, traveling

Ask Me About: animal welfare, food safety, hormones in meat and milk

About Me: My husband and I own and operate Lucky Star Farms, an all-natural meats and produce farm. We sell our meat directly to consumers and our produce directly to restaurants in our area. We also have two sons, and in my free time, I enjoy cooking, traveling and photography.

Instagram: @luckystarfarms2000

Janna Fritz

Bad Axe, Michigan

Our Farm: black beans, corn, navy beans, soybeans, wheat

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, seed salesperson

My Hobbies: baking, cooking, running, travel

Ask Me About: farm ownership, GMO foods

About Me: I am a city girl turned into country mom and wife. My husband works incredibly hard day-to-day on our farm operation. I work off the farm but support his efforts in any way I can. Together, we love to talk about agriculture and what we do on our farm. I am proud to live, work and raise our boys in rural America.

Facebook: Janna Krajci Fritz

Twitter: @Grins100

Ashley Kennedy

Bad Axe, Michigan

Our Farm: alfalfa, beef cattle, black beans, corn, dairy cattle, wheat

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: baking, blogging, reading, travel and writing

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, farm ownership, hormones in meat and milk

About Me: I was born and raised on the farm that my grandma and grandpa purchased when they were newlyweds. I married my husband, Eric, in 2012, and now we farm with my parents on the land where I grew up. In 2015, I gave birth to our little miracle, a daughter, Calli Marie. We also have two dogs, and in my free time, I enjoy photography, cooking, fashion and beauty and music. 

Website: Messy Kennedy

Facebook: Messy Kennedy

Twitter: @Armessing

Sharon Kokx

Hickory Corners, Michigan

Our Farm: corn, fruit, goats, vegetables

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: arts and crafts, baking, reading, traveling

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, farm ownership, food prices, food safety, hormones in meat and milk, organic and local foods, sustainability

About Me: My husband and I are both retired from our jobs off the farm and enjoy spending time with our kids and grandchildren. In my free time, I enjoy baking, hiking and traveling, and I’m involved in my local church. On our farm, we raise goats and run a farm market, where we grow gourds, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squash, super sweet gourmet sweet corn (which is a bi-colored corn with a sweet taste) and tomatoes. We sell our pumpkins and sweet corn to four grocery stores in the area. We love being full-time farmers and sharing our story of agriculture with our community.

Brigette Leach

Climax, Michigan

Our Farm: vegetables

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: arts and crafts, baking, cooking, reading, traveling

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, farm ownership, food prices, food safety, GMO foods, hormones in meat and milk, organic and local foods, sustainability

About Me: Our community is very important to my husband, Larry, and me. We’ve been actively involved with 4-H, a youth development program, and our local conservation districts. Larry served on our local fire department for 35 years, 24 of those years as chief. As our community changed, our farming operation evolved away from livestock. Today, we have hydroponic greenhouses for producing tomatoes and salad greens. We also grow vegetables in the field. All of those crops are direct marketed to local restaurants and at several area farmer’s markets. We also grow irrigated field crops.

 Facebook: Brigette Leach

Twitter: @leach_brigette

Renee McCauley

Lowell, Michigan

Our Farm: dairy

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: photography, travel

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, farm ownership, food safety, hormones in meat and milk

About Me: My husband and I work on the dairy farm where my parents raised me and where my mom still plays an active role. As my husband and I are starting the transition to ownership of the farm, we are exploring ways to improve cow comfort and sustainability. I am proud that our love for our cows and our care for their well-being is what drives our daily agendas. I participate in CommonGround so that I can share our farming approach with people who live in cities with little or no access to agriculture.

Twitter: @tumbleweedcows

Instagram: naynay4825

Snapchat: aunt_nay11

Cathy McCune

St. Louis, Michigan

Our Farm: dairy cattle

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: arts and crafts, baking, cooking, traveling, writing

Ask Me About: animal welfare, farm ownership, food prices, food safety, hormones in meat and milk, organic and local foods, sustainability

About Me: My husband and I own and operate McCune Centennial Farm, a farm that has been in my husband’s family since 1880. Our son, Chase, also farms with us. We host a fundraising event at our farm each year to benefit local cancer patients – something we started when my sister was diagnosed with cancer in 2007. I am active in our community and church and enjoying quilting and spending time with my grandchildren! Plus, I love the farm life.

Facebook: McCune Centennial Farm

Carla Schultz

Kingston, Michigan

Our Farm: alfalfa, beef cattle, corn, black and navy beans, pigs, soybeans, wheat

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: arts and crafts, baking, biking, cooking, hiking, overall fitness, reading, running

Ask Me About: animal welfare, farm ownership, GMO foods, sustainability

About Me: In addition to being a wife and mom, I’m actively involved in our local 4-H, a youth development program. My faith is also a big part of my life, so I volunteer at our church and grade school that is run through our church. On our farm, we direct market our beef and pork, but sell most of our grains on a global scale. We feel blessed to be able to take care of this great creation, and I have a passion for advocating for agriculture.

Facebook: Schultz Farms: Grass Based Beef

Jody Sharrard

Peck, Michigan

Our Farm: alfalfa, corn and sugar beets

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: cooking, reading,

Ask Me About: animal welfare, sustainability

About Me: I grew up on a tiny dairy farm (20 milking cows) that is six miles from where I farm today.  Our farm was recognized as a centennial farm in 2009.  A centennial farm is a farm that is formally recognized by our state as being in operation by the same family for 100 years. My husband and I have three boys, ages 16, 14, and 12.  The boys are active in sports year-round, but football is our passion. We are starting a new adventure this year.  We have three gilts (female pigs that haven’t had babies) that we are planning to breed and raise the piglets (babies) for fair projects. Outside of the farm, I love to cook, read, do puzzles and be outside.  I’m also active in our school, helping educate and promote agriculture (mostly the benefits of dairy) to the school kids.

Facebook: Sharrard Farms LLC

Carla Wardin

Saint Johns, Michigan

Our Farm: dairy cattle

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, writer, speaker

My Hobbies: hiking, photography, running, traveling

Ask Me About: animal welfare, antibiotics and animal health, farm ownership, hormones in meat and milk,

About Me: About Me:  My husband, Kris, and I are sixth-generation farmers on my parents’ dairy farm in Michigan, but we didn’t start out as farmers. After we graduated from Michigan State University, we both worked in the corporate world for six years. My parents wanted to retire, so we quit our jobs, moved from Connecticut to Michigan and bought the farm. That was nine years ago, and we’re so glad we made this decision! We have three boys, and we love our farming life.  In my spare time, I love blogging, reading, writing, teaching swimming lessons and playing the flute.

Website: Truth or Dairy

Facebook: Truth or Dairy

Twitter: @Carlashelley

Instagram: @Carlashelley