Grand Traverse Edible Trails Project

UPDATE: Seth Bernard is now offering a free community walking concert on the trail if we receive $5000 or more in donations. Give today, snack forever!
Jonathan Aylward
Email Verified
872 Facebook Friends
Traverse City, Michigan
United States
2 Team Members

 Seth Speaks Supportively!:




Thank you for sharing and donating!

We are amazed and humbled by the generous support that this project has received in the past 12 days. We've reached our goal with time to spare!  Lately we've been working out the details of how we can best use additional donated funds, and how we could do something cool for everybody in return. So, without further ado:  

We are partnering with Seth Bernard to put on a free community walking concert parade on the TART/Leelanau Trail with stops to tour the forest gardens if we reach $5000 in donations! 

Yep, you read right: a moving concert with local musical wizard, community resilience activist and all-around wonderful fellow Seth Bernard.  When else will you be able to listen to awesome live music while you stroll along the trail through the woods? Bring something to hold up if you want (then it's a parade!). Date TBA.

Other Bonus Rewards: if we receive $5000, there will be other bonus gifts for everyone who has donated at the levels of $50 and more: 

  • $50: receive a second seed pod
  • $100: receive one free blueberry plant (3-4 years old)
  • $250: receive three free blueberry plants (3-4 year-old)
  • $500: receive $50 in plants and we'll design a site for you if you're local
  • $1000: receive $100 in plants and we'll design a site for you if you're local

We've decided that, in the following order, any additional funds will:

1. Purchase older plants that will bear faster. Help cut some years off the wait for our first snack.

2. Enhance our site designs to have more plants.  New designs are on the way, and will be posted as soon as possible.

3. Plant edibles at some other sites along the trail. We are already working with TART to identify other locations for edibles, and a couple look promising. Once goals 1 and 2 are satisfactorily covered, all additional funds with go towards other sites. Sites and designs to be posted ASAP.

We're pumped about the potential for creating an event that may be called the Public Perennial Polyculture Parade. People, thank you!


Free Public Perennial Food

Help plant some of the first public food forests—a human designed edible ecosystem—in Michigan. Wild blueberries, plums, apples, saskatoons, persimmons, gooseberries and much more will be in ready reach of hikers and bikers on the TART trail. This campaign is raising $3000 to support two food forests along the Leelanau trail, about two miles northwest of Traverse City. One is at the Leelanau Conservancy's DeYoung Farm and Natural Area, and the other is across from the Orchard Creek apartments next to Realeyes Homestead.

Any funds raised over our goal will go towards the expansion of the project along the trail. The TART Trails network is 60 miles long!

We are a group of people that came together last year with the goal of creating public edible ecosystems along the TART Trail network in Northwest Lower Michigan. Our community collective is ever-expanding, and includes a knowledgable and experienced backbone of permaculture designers and farmers, landscape designers, and edible native perennial plant experts. The visionary and inspiring folks at ISLAND are our non-profit partners and fiduciaries, and for this they will receive our eternal thanks!

Reimagining public spaces, reconnecting with our food source, and healing our ecosystem.

We are convinced that we can do better with our public spaces. What good are our shared landscapes if they are not either supporting people or supporting a healthy ecosystem? These edible landscapes will do both. We are inspired by the sustainable use of land by indigenous cultures around the world, and by a new wave of public perennial food projects in our country like the Beacon Food Forest in Seattle. 

The site designs emphasize edible native perennial plants that benefit our region's flora and fauna.  By fostering beneficial plant relationships, we aim to create resilient systems and minimize human maintenance needs. For example, we are dotting these landscapes with nitrogen-fixing perennial plants that will continuously fertilize the soil for the surrounding plants. 

Plants will be labelled, providing ongoing educational opportunities for trail users, and we will provide educational materials as well. Lots of kids grow up thinking that their food only comes from the grocery store. When you look at our public landscapes, full of grass and a few types of trees, it's no wonder. 

With a successful campaign, we'll be preparing the sites and building soil this spring, and will plant in early fall. We'll keep all donators updated with an e-newsletter for volunteer days!

We'll need $3000 for: 

  • a whole lot of plants and seeds
  • "gator" watering bags, tree tubes, and shrub guards to help ensure survival
  • compost
  • educational signage
  • water and fuel costs

If you can't donate, please help spread the word for us! An amazing gift would be donating and spreading the word.

Collaborators include:

Thanks to the following people for fostering connections and boosting creativity:

Another big thank you to Oliver Asselin and for allowing use of their beautiful food forest and foraging images. Check out their upcoming documentary The Permaculture Orchard: Beyond Organic

raised by 101 people in 21 days
179% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$3,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on May 28, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    Volunteer Newsletter

    Donate any amount and we'll add you to our volunteer newsletter/email list so that you can easily help out with the project. If you want to be added to the list without donating just email us at

    10 claimed
  • $25USD
    Thank You Note Collage

    Our crew, or possibly a child, will make you a one-of-a-kind collage and thank you note that you can put on your fridge, frame, or recycle.

    15 claimed
  • $50USD
    Michigan Native Seed Pods

    Perennial Harvest has made some native perennial seed pods that are formed in clay in the shape of our mitten state. You'll probably want to break it up, then throw these seeds in an open space and see what comes up. Check them out here:

    14 claimed
  • $100USD
    Delectable Homemade Dessert

    One of our skilled kitchen wizards will make you a tasty dessert. Locals only, as desserts don't ship too well. Everything above included.

    4 claimed
  • $250USD
    ISLAND Gear + Sam Thayer Book

    You've got two gifts coming! First choose between a blaze orange ISLAND hat and t-shirt. Then choose one of Samuel Thayer's foraging guides, which are considered to be some of the best ever made.

    3 out of 13 claimed
  • $500USD
    Plaque of Gratitude

    We will recognize your donation by including you on a plaque that will be placed at one of the sites. If anyone donates this much we are going to be jumping for joy, so we will film Levi doing ten backflips while we sing a song we wrote for you. That's a promise. Everything above included!

    1 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Homemade Local Organic Dinner

    By the great Hazelnut's catkins! Levi will parkour into town yelling like Paul Revere, but, you know, happy. We'll also cook you a unique homemade local organic dinner at one of our homes or your home if you're local; plus we'll add one of everything listed above.

    0 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Seth Bernard Walking Concert

    IF we receive a total of $5000, everyone gets to enjoy a free moving Seth Bernard concert along the TART Trail, with forest garden tours and info along the way! Plus everyone who has donated $50 or more gets another bonus reward.

    0 out of 1 claimed
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