Get to know Shannon Brines, a local farmer farming on Legacy-protected land!
by Shannon Brines as told to Erin Mittendorf
Shannon’s farm was protected in 2012 by the Farrell/Lawson family, with help from Legacy Land Conservancy, Webster Township and the Federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program.
I started farming in 2004 out of my increasing concern for the sustainability of our community here in Southeast Michigan. I saw a growing disconnect between people and their food – knowing how it is grown and where it comes from. I told people, “Farming is how I am going to save the world.” I began on a two acre clearing on family property in Dexter and built four hoop houses that let me harvest year round, providing the community with local, fresh greens even in the coldest months of the year.
In November 2011, a fellow farmer mentioned that 80 acres were for sale in northern Webster Township. The property had been in the same family since the founding of the township and was used historically for dairy and livestock production. The family had decided to put an easement on the land to preserve its agricultural character, before putting it up for sale. I needed more space to expand my farm, and on March 30, 2012, we signed the final paperwork to purchase the property.
I’m honored to continue the stewardship of this historical land. Because of the easement, which reduced the price of the land, we were able to double the amount of space that I ever dreamed of farming. It allows for all the things I wanted to try, from fruits and nuts to a few pastured animals, and still leaves room to expand our successful year-round veggies.
By preserving the agricultural potential of prime farmland for the next generation of farmers, we can more readily access it as a critical part of strengthening our local food system. The people in Southeast Michigan will reap the benefits of land conservation and be able to rely on locally grown food and enjoy the culture of our regional foodshed in the years to come.
For more information on Brines Farm, please click here.