Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kris Van Haitsma - Board Nominee

Kris Van Haitsma
Hydroponic Lettuce Grower
Mud Lake Farm, LLC

Kris grew up in Tampa, FL and attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, graduating with a BS in Biology. She worked for about 18 years as an Organic Chemist for a local environmental testing laboratory. After attempting to balance both farming and working part-time for about a year and a half, she left the lab to pursue her interests in farming full-time. She is married to Steve, and they have three children, ages 13 to 17.

Kris is the owner of Mud Lake Farm, a small hydroponic farm that focuses on growing a variety of lettuces, herbs, and greens hydroponically, as well as other vegetables and herbs grown "organically". While the farm is not certified organic, the Van Haitsmas do endeavor to follow organic principles. No pesticides or herbicides are used, but they utilize beneficial insects and scouting to manage pests. They also attempt to grow products that are relatively uncommon, and those that can be grown using more permanent plantings (i.e., arctic kiwis, hazelnuts, elderberries, & paw paws). While all of these plantings are still in their infancy, hopefully they will yield some tasty, unique products in the future. The Van Haitsmas raise various animals, and seek ways to integrate all aspects of their farm to minimize inputs, purchasing as many inputs as possible from local sources.

Kris has been involved in the West Michigan Co-op since it's inception, and has participated in almost every order cycle so far, as both producer and customer. She looks forward to becoming even more involved in the vision and operation of the Co-op by serving on the board.

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