About Pretty Lake Farm
The three-acre Pretty Lake Farm is an outdoor classroom cultivating connection to the outdoors, inspiring healthy bodies, and building strong individuals and a strong community. This working farm grows and serves fresh produce to our hundreds of summer campers and thousands of clients and retreat guests each season. Our farm strives towards environmental sustainability and is free from chemical pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers.
In 2016, Pretty Lake’s kitchen served nearly 4 lbs of Pretty Lake Farm vegetables to each of our 800+ summer campers! Other produce is distributed in our Food for Families Program, which provides bundles of fresh food for families of campers to take home cost-free. Any abundance of produce goes to local food pantries and is sold at local farmers’ markets to support our summer campers.
Pretty Lake Farm is home to 9 goats, a coop full of chickens, and our sweet old mini donkeys (Stevie and Lilly). Our Farmer and educator, Jenny Doezema, teams up with campers, local college students, field study students, young farmers, and volunteers to grow thousands of pounds of food every year while cultivating new thoughts and experiences for thousands of people.
We provide programs for campers and many others! Learn more about what Pretty Lake Farm has to offer:
Harvest Rivals: Pretty Lake Farm Chef Competition
Take team-building to a delicious new level. The Pretty Lake Farm Chef program invites you to explore the season’s freshest produce on Pretty Lake’s very own spray-free farm all while developing your team’s communication, initiative, innovation and fun.
Through a harvesting race and cook-off competition, your team will face off in a challenge to make the tastiest, most visually divine and creative meal you can conjure up. Your group will be provided with basic ingredients, but the real challenge comes as we test your team’s ability to collaborate and communicate through the process of creating – deepening skills that help teams thrive and grow.
You will gather your choice of seasonally-available ingredients growing in our vegetable fields and cook over an open fire in our beautiful open-air kitchen. The program concludes with a feast as you share your freshly made meal and reflect on what you learned as a group.
This program requires 3 hours minimum. Groups have the option of creating hors d’oeuvres or a full meal. If you are interested in turning your Pretty Lake Farm Chef program into a full-day team-building experience, we can add a half-day, professionally facilitated outdoor adventure course program designed to complement your Harvest Rivals program.
School Field Studies
We offer a wide variety of field trips for students of all ages. Students participating in our programs learn about themselves, others and their world through land exploration, pond studies, farming, team-building initiatives and animal husbandry. Field studies are aligned with state educational benchmarks, and primarily focus on the environmental sciences related to the farm, forest, prairie, wetland, and lake ecosystems we have on site.
We promote the Michigan “No Child Left Inside” initiative by being an outdoor extension of the classroom.
Fulfilling “The Promise” together
This partnership follows the ideals of the “Kalamazoo Promise” – working together to give the children of Kalamazoo the opportunity for a rich and diverse learning experience. By pairing outdoor learning opportunities with state curriculum benchmarks, we support our local youth by fostering a greater understanding of nature and natural resources.
All of our summer campers help run the farm and engage in hands-on learning opportunities. Additionally, the Young Farmer program is open to our oldest group of campers, the Pretty Lake Ambassadors. This program, which requires an application and an interview, includes a four-visit project during camp that aims to provide a glimpse into the tasks required to run a farm. For the program’s capstone, the Young Farmers take a harvest to sell at our local farmers’ market.
Bring Your Adventure Centre Program to the Farm
Adventure Centre clients may wish to complement their program by adding a farm component. Pretty Lake tailors your program to your group.
For adults, Pretty Lake Farm provides a distinctive opportunity to grow and bond as a team while also building skills to achieve personal goals. The Farm provides a memorable backdrop that your group will continue to reflect on and revisit.
For younger groups, our farm programs seek to empower participants with the knowledge or reminder that they can be leaders of their lives and have positive impacts on their peers, teachers, home and community. These lessons are learned through hands-on activities and work, community discussion, and enriching interactions with nature, farm animals and each other.
Share the Harvest
Will you be camping out as part of your program? Take a trip to the farm with our farmer. Visit the animals, get a tour of the fields and experience the joy of harvesting right out of our fields to fancy up your meal. Experience and learn how food gets to your plate and why fresh and local make a difference.
Give back while strengthening the relationships in your group. Book a volunteer day with our farmer. Spend the day outside instead of in by helping with the heavy workload it takes to run a farm that grows food for all of our summer campers. We are supported by volunteers and are proud of that we can offer high quality fresh food to our young ones in the community with the highest need for extra support. Volunteers are essential to making this possible! Contact Matt Claus at email@example.com to schedule a volunteering opportunity.