CommonGround Farmers

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

Back to Our Farmers

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

Rita Herford

Harbor Beach, Michigan

Our Farm: corn, edible beans, sugar beets, wheat

My Work: farmer, wife, mom

My Hobbies: baking, movies, travel, Zumba

Ask Me About: farm ownership, GMO foods, sustainability

About Me: My family farm is unique in that the women on our farm are full time farmers. My mom and I do everything the guys do: drive semis, run combines, planters and sugar beet equipment. I am passionate about agriculture, and I love talking to others about how we grow food for our family and community. Five years into my full time farming career, I picked up another full time job as a mother. My husband and I have one daughter, Alexis. We enjoy our busy life and wouldn’t want it any other way.

Facebook: GentnerBischerFarms

Twitter: @HerfordRita

Kristi Keilen

Westphalia, Michigan

Our Farm: alfalfa, corn, dairy, sorghum, soybeans, wheat

My Work: farmer, wife, mom, nutritionist

My Hobbies: arts and crafts, blogging, cooking, reading

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

About Me: Family is extremely important to me. In addition to my roles as wife, mom and farmer, I’m also a dairy nutritionist. On our farm, we milk around 450 cows three times a day. I love to have conversations with people about what we do and why we do it.

Facebook: Kristi Keilen, Once upon a dairy

Twitter: @Kristi Keilen

Snapchat: Kristi Keilen

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.

Samantha Krhovsky

Corunna, Michigan

Our Farm: corn, soybeans, wheat, vegetables

My Work: farmer, wife, District Sales Manager with DEKALB Asgrow for Monsanto

My Hobbies: blogging, cooking, movies, photography, reading

Ask Me About:  GMOs, sustainability and conservation, family farms

About Me:  My husband is a 4th generation farmer and we farm alongside his parents in MI. When we are not farming, we enjoy roadside sales of sweet corn in the summer and pumpkins, gourds, broom and ear corn and straw in the fall. It is important to me to try and bridge the gap between consumers and the farm. With so much information at hand, it is hard to distinguish what the truth is. I hope that by sharing my experience I can shed some light on what we do on our farm, and give a better understanding to consumers about where their food comes from.

Facebook: Sassy Agronomist

Instagram: SassyAgronomist

Twitter: @SassyAgronomist

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

Carla Schultz

Mayville, Michigan

Our Farm: Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, Alfalfa, Chicken, Beef Cattle, Hog, Edible beans

My Work: Mom, entrepreneur, farmer, wheat flour sales specialist

My Hobbies: Baking, Biking, Cooking, Hiking, Overall fitness, Reading

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: I farm in the beautiful state of Michigan with my family, raising crops and livestock. We run Eight Plates Farm, where we sell our farm raised protein online, at markets, restaurants, and through a few retail stores. We hope to add a farm store and add more events to directly connect with more customers. Through this outlet, I enjoy being able to connect with consumers and show them exactly where their food is coming from and answer any questions they may have.

Facebook: Eight Plates Farm: Grass Based Beef and Pork

Instagram: @eightplatesfarm

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