Food For Thought has always been housed in green structures and based on our organic farm. My house was built from recycled materials and wood from trees taken from the building site. It is uniquely photogenic and a featured part of any tour of Food For Thought, since it is where Food For Thought operated its first three years. It includes lots of colored and leaded glass windows, wood interior and unique design features. Throughout the process I researched stories about the buildings I deconstructed. One was a pickle factory built in the 1840’s in the small Polish farming community of Cedar, Michigan. Another was a barn built at the turn of the century. I met a 101 year-old man that still lived next-door to that barn. It was a cold October morning that I came upon him cutting his firewood with a hand saw in his yard. Upon introducing myself, I told him that I had been contracted to tear down the barn and asked if he knew any history of it? Before the last syllable had left my lips, tears began to well up in his eyes. Seeing a 101 year-old man tear up in your presence shifts one’s mental chemistry in ways that stay with you for life. Fortunately those tears turned to joy when I told him I intended to build my own home from the materials I would salvage. Not only did he participate in construction of that barn, but when the neighbors celebrated its completion with a traditional barn dance, he met a young girl that would soon become his wife. All these stories are documented and many copies are buried in the walls of my house.
Food For Thought, is also housed in a green building I built next door using the same philosophy. Much of it is recycled materials and native Michigan wood. It’s also built to American Lung Association Health House standards to maximize sustainability and indoor air quality.