Tillers International / Rural Futures
SUSTAINING COMMUNITY THROUGH ARTISAN SKILLS AND AGRICULTURAL TECHNIQUES
Tillers International (Tillers) is a non-profit organization for international rural development, specializing in farming with oxen. Based in Scotts, Mich., at the Cook’s Mill Learning Center, Tillers offers classes in appropriate technology, farming techniques, draft animal power, blacksmithing and metal work, timber framing, woodworking, cheese making, and many other agricultural and artisanal skills for members of the Kalamazoo community and beyond. Tillers also hosts interns, both international and domestic, and international guests for intensive periods of hands-on training. Whether participants are looking for a new hobby, a new land- or skill-based livelihood, or an opportunity to contribute their knowledge and skills to local or international projects, Tillers welcomes people from all over the globe and offers myriad unique educational opportunities.
In 2014, Tillers embarked on a new initiative, the creation of a roadside Processing and Market Building. This new structure will serve as a place for Tillers’ Young Farmer Incubator Program to wash, sort, and properly store their produce for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs and farmers’ markets. It will also serve the local public as a roadside fresh produce market stand. This initiative will be of special interest in the Kalamazoo area in relation to KVCC’s new Health Focused Campus.