I was born in Chicago on the northwest side into a large family (6th of 7 children) both my parent instilled the value of hard work and selflessness. They bought land in Wisconsin and we kids helped build over the years a small barn, garage, small greenhouse, and eventually a home. I enlisted in the US Marine Corps right after high school and served 5years.
Shortly after I was discharged I lost my father to cancer. I began taking interest in gardening and small scale farming. I meet Marie who had a passion for plants in general and began a dream of a small garden store. Then we lost my mother and the land my parents bought since Marie had some roots in Michigan we decided to move there ad start planning our future and farm there.
`Home Grown By Heroes Certified
The label serves to inform consumers that agricultural products donning the logo were produced by U.S. military veterans. Additionally, farms and agricultural businesses displaying the logo denotes a Homegrown By Heroes-certified operation.
Heroes to Hives. (Their Link https://www.canr.msu.edu/veterans/)
Tom had said he wanted to become a beekeeper for a few years. Marie told him ok but you need to learn how. “It can’t be that easy or everyone would be doing it.” He read everything he could about honey bees, taking a few seminars too. Then in 2016 they found a program called Heroes to Hives. Heroes to Hives is an intense 9 month beekeeping education program, which uses lecture and hands-on educational experiences on managing bee hives over an entire season this included a broad depth of beekeeping knowledge through instruction and mentorship. Tom took the class in 2016 and Marie has taken the class as well since then. They both have learned an abundant amount through this program.
Meet your farmers:
In that same time period I had 2 wonderful kids and a divorce. Then I met Tom. After a few years of learning and finding a wonderful program, Heroes to Hives, we are beekeepers. That’s right I am a farmer and loving it.
Groups We Are Involved With
A Veteran Owned, Veteran Operated, Woman Lead & Michigan Grown Farm
Kusar Farms LLC is a small scale sustainable apiary located in beautiful Michigan.
Michigan Beekeepers Association sense 2017
I grew up on a small family farm. Pledging never to be a farmer, but knowing I wanted an education beyond high school. The military had a program called The GI Bill. So I joined the US Army. Once my tour was over I took my GI Bill and ran. I ran straight to MSU.
I started in the horticulture industry with a shovel, I worked my way up into positions in retail, management, and finally my favorite, research. Through those years I received my Bachelors in Horticulture. As a horticulturalist, I use my knowledge of plants to help bring bee friendly food plants to our farm. I have taken the “Certified Pollinator Champion” course through Michigan State University, completing the course with a 98%.
Armed Forces Beekeeping Club
We founded the AFB Club in 2019.
Farm Veteran Coalition
Yes as beekeepers we are farmers. We found the FVC and became member in 2015. We are proud to have received grant funding from their Fellowship, and part of their Home Grown by Heroes program.
The Mission of Farmer Veteran Coalition is Mobilizing Veterans to Feed America
We cultivate a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. We believe that veterans possess the unique skills and character needed to strengthen rural communities and create sustainable food systems. We believe that agriculture offers purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits.
I may seem a little standoffish but am waiting for you to come to your senses. As I stare at you I am willing you to invite me into your lap. Once in your lap I head but your hand and arm to remind you, pet me.
varietal honeys, pollinator services, and so much more.
Tom and Marie enjoy passing along what they have learned. Talking to any one that is interested in honeybees and other pollinators. We have mentored fellow veterans in their beekeeping endeavors, to limit the new beekeepers failures and encourage them to continue to the next step.
I am the biggest Mommas boy. If you see her I am very close by, usually touching her.
When someone comes to the door I will react in one of two ways. First if a man is there I will glare at you asking, Who are you, Why are you here, this is my house, you can leave now. Second way, if you are a woman I will meow at you, flop down in front of, and roll over asking you to PLEASEEEEE rub my belly.
We are struggling for our own farm. Our bees are housed on other’s farms. We are keeping our eye on the goal
We currently have 16 (2019) hives. We have taken advance beekeeping courses to learn overwintering nucs, rearing queens and several methods of making splits from their hives. Our goal is to have 150-200 hives within the next three years. Increasing our income by selling extra nucs, extra queens and adding value added products such as
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