ISLAND (Institute for Sustainable Living, Art & Natural Design) is creating an enclosed trailer that unpacks into a high-efficiency, three-season food preservation kitchen and workshop space. This is a lightweight trailer that can be pulled onto small farms at the peak of produce ripeness. From the trailer we unload tents, tables and outdoor stoves. The remaining interior contains equipment, sinks and workspace that can host up to a dozen people. The Oryana Community Grant would provide needed funds for equipment purchase and trailer modifications.
Beyond canning, the trailer will support drying, fermenting, smoking and meat curing. It will serve as a farm-based space to hold classes and community food preservation parties, so that folks can learn the important techniques of food preservation, meet their farmers and enjoy shared work.
ISLAND is a non-profit arts, ecology and agricultural organization based in Bellaire, Michigan, dedicated to connecting people with nature, art and community. We create and share a broad collection of tools that restore old skills and develop new traditions of community self-reliance and ecological living.
Our work is rooted in these 10 counties. We cultivate collaboration, and have organized hundreds of workshops, teaching skills like food preservation, livestock husbandry, and soil development. We’ve founded school and community gardens, created a network for small farmers, and acted as fiduciary and planning partner for the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference. ISLAND programs and workshops have reached thousands of people in our community over the last seven years.
ISLAND currently runs a similar project: a mobile, MDA certified poultry processor—we lovingly call it the Chicken Coupe. The Coupe allows small farmers to process chickens, ducks and turkeys, bypassing expensive processing facilities and enabling farmers to sell direct to their customers.
With the addition of this food preservation trailer, we can connect the dots between food preservation and a vibrant local economy. Not only can we make food preservation into a great occasion for community, we can close the gap between the seasonal crop surplus on small farms and bountiful cellar pantries for scores of families.