Who We Are…

Our parents, Rudy and Ann Palenick were of Eastern European descent and first generation Americans. While born in Chicago, they spent their entire lives in Allegan and farmed with zeal, passion and honor. Their greatest gifts were in teaching us to care for the land, each other and our community. Strong, faith filled people; they instilled in us a strong work ethic and love of nature. As children of the Great Depression, they were generous and kind hearted and had the compassionate nature of helping everyone in need. Our finest memories are of watching them share garden and farm bounty, whether through a gift of jam, a loaf of bread or a t-bone steak. This tradition, so much part of the Southwest Michigan farming community, has made us who we are:

Joseph Anthony (Joe) Palenick

A strong environmentalist, Joe is an expert in alternative energy sources and is currently working on e-books related to solar and wind technology and peak oil. Well read and well traveled, he has lived in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years. He is currently farming on land there, cultivating mushrooms – Pearl, Shitake and Turkey Tail – and organic produce. He writes and blogs extensively on all matters of sustainabilit

Mary A. (Palenick) Colborn

Mary earned a Masters in horticulture with an emphasis on fruit and vegetable production from Michigan State University. She completed a Masters in education from Old Dominion University and taught plant biology in Tacoma, WA. She loves working with special needs students and those who thrive on hands-on work. She also certified as an arborist and a Washington State Professional Horticulturist. The author of two books for children, Rainy Day Slug and Where Wonder Takes You, she is an environmental educator and writer. She has three grown children and is currently working on a doctorate with Dr. Norm Lownds to create a virtual plant biology course with a hands-on component, the goal of which is to teach youth how to grow their own food.

Frances J. (Palenick) Norton

The mother of three girls, Fran is a consummate volunteer and activist working on behalf of children. A member of the National Guard for years, she is a crafter by nature and delights in learning new heirloom crafts and teaching them to children. She has vast experience in fundraising and is a party and event planner by nature and aptitude.

Christine A Palenick (Tina)

Piped Piper, thy name is Tina. It’s hard to say what Tina loves more – children, nature or animals. Wherever she goes, she attracts both children and animals by her loving nature. She is passionate about farmland preservation and environmental issues and is an advocate for recycling and composting. She currently resides on the family farm and delights in caring for animals.

Anna M. (Palenick) Rose

Anna completed a degree in nutrition at Michigan State University and spent time working for the Allegan based Perrigo Company as a chemist, before serving a stint as an Army officer in the field of industrial hygiene. She married James Rose, a fellow officer, and is raising three children at Army bases around the country and world. A passionate advocate of an organic, gluten free diet, she is working on a master’s degree in nutrition researching celiac disease

Rudolph Edward Palenick

Rudy inherited our father’s strength and courage. Unbelievably strong and capable, he is a wonder around farm machinery and tools. He has a love of machinery design and has tinkered with his own farm inventions, including a newly designed lawn mower. Tender hearted, he has a menagerie of animals that he loves.