Student Life

A farm with barns

Still thinking about that delicious chicken tender? Want to know how the farmer grew that sweet tomato? Wondering about the farm-­to-­fork industry? Then mark your calendars for a free event to
Meet the Farmers at South Quad 
Monday, March 16, 2015
11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Michigan Dining is sponsoring the event for students and faculty who want to know how sustainable food is produced and procured for all of University dining halls and restaurants. 

With sustainability a core philosophy, the University aims to have 20 percent of the food served on­campus from farmers within a 250­ mile radius. More than 30 Michigan farmers and suppliers provide the University with meat, milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables and more.

Here is a little background on the farmers who will be at the meet­and­greet event.

● Zilke Vegetable Farm from Milan ­­ Vicki and Tom Zilke started a five­acre side project in 2008, and it has blossomed into into a forty­acre sustainable farming business that yields greens, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, green beans, cantaloupe and watermelon. In addition to supplying University kitchens, the Zilke’s sell their produce at Wolverine Tower, North Campus Research Complex and the University Hospital Courtyard.

● Lesser Farms from Dexter ­­ Dale Lesser’s grandfather bought the property in the early 1900s and the family has been farming it ever since. With over 1,200 acres of farmland, the Lessers grow corn, soybeans, pumpkins and apples. They also raise chickens for eggs and keep honeybees.

● Todosciuk Farms & Greenhouses from Howell ­­ Jim and Tina Todosciuk are devoted vegetable farmers who have been running their 45­acre farm for two decades. They deliver fresh produce (beans, broccoli, cucumbers and squash) to the University of Michigan Hospital and U­M’s dining halls. They also run a Community Shared Agriculture program (CSA).

Follow Michigan Dining on Twitter at, which includes daily updates of sustainable treats and weekly student contests for free food.