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June 28 - July 09, 2019
July 12 - July 23, 2019
August 2 - August 13, 2019
Seeds of Change takes us on a journey from seed to plate. We gather in Chicago, and head to the massive dunes, beaches, and coastline of southwest Michigan. Here we'll explore orchards, farms, animals, wildlife, bees, and markets, learning how our "chow" makes its way from field to market. Our experience extends beyond organic farming to exploring over 200 farm animals and birds, investigating beekeeping practices, and engaging with local artists, educators, and entrepreneurs in this inviting community. We’ll have the opportunity to share an eye to eye experience with timber wolves and wolf dogs that have been neglected, abused, or abandoned and learn about conservation efforts necessary to support these often misunderstood creatures. Our adventure continues through the lakes, rivers, and trails as we embark on a sunset sail on the Mishigami, the Ojibwe word for "great water”, kayaking the Kalamazoo River where Osprey and Eagles are often found hunting and nesting, and bike the Kal-Haven Trail through woods, farmland, and small towns.
Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers 1,000 acres, 14 miles of hiking trails, 200-foot-high dunes, and a secluded 2.5 mile stretch of shoreline and to roam freely by foot or by dune buggy.
They don’t call it a fruit belt for nothing! Southwest Michigan has uniquely ideal conditions for producing a micro-climate favorable for farming fruit. We’ll explore this unique area and pick our own blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries along the way!
The myth of the Big Bad Wolf couldn’t be further from the truth. These often misunderstood creatures have been hunted and removed from their homes for decades. Look into their eyes and experience their calm nature and wisdom first hand.
This stretch of serene waters is the ideal location to observe animals in the wild and spend the day taking in the natural beauty.
Explore the “Third Coast” of the United States, the 6th largest lake in the world, and the only Great Lake located entirely in the US. Lake Michigan is home to the largest freshwater dune system in the world and home to 1,400 miles of pristine shoreline.
What makes a farm organic and how can we support local farmers? We explore these questions and more as we work alongside local organic farmers and learn how our food goes from seed to plate.
This beautiful bike trail links the city of South Haven to Kalamazoo crossing charming countryside and tree lined orchards. The trail is harmoniously shared by bikers, hikers, and the occasional horseback rider.
We can thank pollinators like honeybees for one out of every three bites of food we eat. We'll learn about the mutually beneficial relationship between honeybees and healthy crops and their immeasurable importance to farmers.
Meet, learn from, and cook with a master chef, entrepreneur, and educator as she teaches us her philosophy on cooking and shares her dedication to serving food from local farmers.
#10 Imagine Art
Visit a beautiful barn built in 1880 is where creativity comes to blossom. String some beads into a bracelet, throw a ceramic pot on the wheel, construct a mosaic, and find what fuels you.
A Certificate of Community Service indicating the total hours worked and a Presidential Volunteer Service Award will be issued upon successful completion of the program.
6 - 8
Lodging is in a private home. Bedrooms will be divided by gender and participants will sleep slumber party style – in sleeping bags, rotating available beds nightly. Showers are available; however, we shower every three to four days to conserve resources and support sustainability.
Chicago, IL O'Hare (ORD)
After arriving in Chicago we head straight for the Southwest coast of Lake Michigan. This will be our home base as we explore the beaches, farms, and picturesque landscape of Southwest Michigan. Each afternoon we enjoy miles of soft sandy beaches where we can splash in waves. Our days are full and our nights end with a traditional campfire full of stories, games, and laughter complete with s’mores under a Michigan sky heavy with stars.
We push up our kick stands and start our adventure by taking on a scenic section the Kal-Haven Trail by bike. This former railroad links the city of South Haven to Kalamazoo, passing through small towns and over several bridges. We’ll end the day by the water with a picnic on the beach.
A natural oasis for wildlife, Kalamazoo River is the ideal place for a morning kayak adventure. Here we will have a chance to see Bald Eagles, fox, deer, and many local water birds as we enjoy the calm and scenic waters. We express ourselves at the “Art Barn”, a studio where you can imagine, escape, challenge and create memories in ceramic, silk, or wood, painting, beading, fusing glass, or throwing a pot!
Traveling off the beaten path, we visit a local wolf sanctuary that provides a life-long home for many wolves, wolf dogs, and other species that have been abandoned, or neglected. On our up close and personal tour, we learn about conservation efforts in the area and about the proper care and treatment of animals leaving with a new appreciation for these wild often misunderstood creatures. We learn about the efforts of local beekeepers and the important role they play in the sustainability of crops in the fruit belt.
Bite into any of southwest Michigan’s local just-picked fruits or vegetables and you’ll know why and never want to buy from a grocery store again. We travel through rows of neatly planted countryside and connect with a lively, young, new generation of local farmers determined to change food in America. We work alongside these young entrepreneurs and see how green markets bring the heart of the country to the asphalt-paved streets of cities. We educate ourselves and then follow the “chow” from planting the seeds to selling our produce at a lively local nighttime farmers market.
We close our adventure with a hearty meal cooked from vegetables we harvested on the farm and other treats we picked up at the Holland Farmer’s Market as we share one last campfire under the stars.
Arrival (Day 1):
All arrive in Chicago, IL. Depart for home base in Southwest Michigan.
Take a bike ride through a scenic section of the Kal-Haven Trail, a former railroad linking South Haven to Kalamazoo.
Visit a local wolf and wildlife sanctuary and learn about the proper care and humane treatment of these often misunderstood animals. After making a few new furry friends, we head to the Saugatuck Dunes to feel the wind in our hair as we traverse over the sand in a dune buggy.
We’ll spend the first part of the day paddling around the Kalamazoo River taking in the scenery and looking for Deer, Fox, Osprey and an amazing assortment of water fowl. In the afternoon we’ll tap into our artistic side at the Art Barn working on projects such as ceramics, jewelry making, wood working, or whatever you heart desires.
Visit a local bee farm and learn about the significance of these hard working insects. Spend the afternoon strolling through picturesque downtown Holland.
Get our hands dirty working on an organic farm. Learn about the methods, regulations, and processes it takes to make a healthy plant environment a priority.
Visit a nearby berry farm and pick our own raspberries and blackberries.
Take a sunset sail on Lake Michigan and learn about the history of commerce in the early 1800s.
Prepare a fresh meal with our Farmer’s Market finds and share a final banquet by campfire.
Head back to Chicago and say our goodbyes before catching flights home.
The Road Less Traveled does not require any vaccinations or immunizations to travel with us, other than an up-to-date tetanus shot or booster (within the last nine years).
If you’d like to receive an emailed copy of this program’s day-to-day calendar, please give our office a call anytime between 9am and 5pm CST at 773-342-5200, and we’ll happily send you one!
It is imperative that no one make any travel arrangements until RLT provides instructions for specific arrival and departure time windows. Those details are typically released in mid-spring.
Families are individually responsible for booking their own airfare to get their student from home to the starting destination on the first day of the trip, and from the ending destination back home on the last day of the trip.