Kettering Entrepreneurs: The American Farm and Garden
The American Farm & Garden is the latest project by KES - the Kettering Entrepreneur Society.
Kettering Entrepreneur Society (KES) members combine an industrious and creative spirit with a deep-seated mission to positively impact society. The latest project is The American Farm & Garden, a lofty undertaking by a group of students.
Founded by Justin Schnabelrauch, an Ypsilanti native who graduated from Kettering with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2008 and who is currently pursuing his master’s, his wife Valerie, his brother Matthew (both also Kettering graduates) and Alexandria Henry, the mission of THE AMERICAN FARM AND GARDEN is to inspire future generations through educating them about the history of American agricultural innovations and to become a leading authority on the history and evolution of agricultural technology.
“The idea came from a hobby,” Schnabelrauch said. “I had an interest in historical agricultural equipment and this idea just grew from there. What we’re trying to provide to the community is a science-based learning center where people can be inspired by agricultural history. This history is better understood by studying surviving artifacts, showing how technology has evolved connecting both the past with the present.”
Schnabelrauch’s background also sparked his interest. While many are interested in agricultural history from a preservation standpoint, Schnabelrauch also is interested from the perspective of a mechanical engineer. “There are many hobbyists and collectors who are interested in agricultural history, especially tractors, machinery, and other equipment,” Schnabelrauch said. “But their interest is primarily limited to just restoration. Our focus is more engineering related – how did these products get from design to production and then to market? The science and engineering side of agriculture is important, we hope to encourage youth to pursue these fields paving the way for new innovation.”
The vision for the organization is no small one either – Schnabelrauch said his goal for THE AMERICAN FARM AND GARDEN is to someday offer something similar for agricultural history to what the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village offer for the automobile. Components of the group’s vision include a location where people can see and experience a living history of agriculture in America, with an educational center where people can learn about agricultural technology and an archival collection preserving historical materials including advertising, manuals and other items from companies that have played key roles in producing agriculture-related machinery and products.
The project is obviously a huge undertaking, but Schnabelrauch notes that KES has been a big supporter and good resource. KES provided seed funding covering the application fees to receive tax-exempt status, a process common among non-profit organizations. The KES members have also acted as a sounding board, providing feedback and asking relevant questions. “They helped us with the funding, but KES also provided a lot of valuable direction for us,” he said.
Now, Schnabelrauch is currently working to build a strong foundation of people involved in the organization who can help attain those goals. “We haven’t had a huge marketing push yet, but what we’ve heard has been positive,” he said. “We’re continuously learning and at the same time evaluating the best direction to take the organization. Now that the groundwork has been laid for what THE AMERICAN FARM AND GARDEN is going to be, it’s definitely growing.”
For more information, visit: www.theAmericanFarmandGarden.org or email info@theAmericanFarmandGarden.org. For information on KES, email founding faculty member Dr. Massoud Tavakoli at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Patrick Hayes