By Don Rush

I actually had a good time sweating last Wednesday. Remembering the day, it was in the 90s, muggy and humid. I actually wilted a little bit while a smiling blonde dynamo, a whirling dervish . . . a big straw-hat wearing spitfire showed me around what was once the Baylis horse farm on M-15 in Clarkston.
The firecracker who showed me what is now the Clarkston Family Farm was Chelsea O’Brien — the farm’s founder and executive director. The farm is her brainchild to teach kids the importance of “getting back to nature.” O’Brien and her family (husband and kids) with a lot of blood, sweat, tears and help from Clarkston Community Schools, local service groups, volunteers and individuals have spent four years making the dream a reality.
For a very hot hour last week O’Brien showed me a whole flock of bunnies, a herd of hens, one big, fat, pregnant pig, a community garden, a hoop house to grow things year round, trails, bird houses, a bat house, outdoor cooking labs for making apple cider and maple syrup, lots of flowers, vegetables, local produce and “artisan” goods available to purchase at their Sunflower Market (open Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 6, February through the summer months).

Chelsea O’Brien and one of the new bunnies.

The non-profit Clarkston Family Farm is quite remarkable and I think fast becoming a community resource for gatherings and education opportunities. Eagle and Girl Scouts have completed community projects there, heck O’Brien said for a monarch butterfly event, over 1,000 people showed up!
O’Brien talked fast and fed me a ton of information about the farm and ideas for the future. Had I been a more professional journalist, I would have had my reporter’s notebook and pen working. But, alas, it was too hot and I just committed most of what she said to memory. I hope.

There were both adult and youth volunteers buzzing around and people coming in to do a little produce shopping. I was quite impressed and I think it would be a good location for the local farmer’s market to locate in the future.
The farm is a six-acre parcel of land at the corner of M-15 and Hubbard Road. It is owned by Clarkston Community Schools and leased to the non-profit farm. To find out more about the farm or the classes offered, check out their website, or call 248-302-6426
Now, if we can drive some traffic to their market, maybe I can get ‘em to buy some ads!
* * *
Hey, guess what? I actually got a compliment for last week’s column (What Dads Really Want For Father’s Day). Wrote Ron S., “Hi Don, I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I really enjoyed your column this week. It really resonated with me and touched me deeply – you have a hell of a way with words. Thank You and Happy Father’s Day!”
Thank you, Ron. And, thank you to all the dads out there who love their kids and do their job with unwavering and enduring love.
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