Tabitha Farm was founded in 2009. We have been actively homesteading in this urban space since 2010. Tabitha Farm is owned and run by Katie and her husband Mamadou, and their large family. Katie & Mamadou primarily practice subsistence farming with permaculture practices, also supplemented with the sale of the plants from their geodesic dome greenhouse , and other products such as honey, eggs, and value added products. Along with the cultivated "food forest", Katie and Mamadou raise goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits and bees.
Katie was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but was raised in a suburb of Boston. Massachusetts. When Katie was a young adult, she travelled around the British Isles and Europe on her bicycle to work on small, organic family farms. Katie graduated from the North Bennett Street School in Boston where she trained in carpentry, and then worked as a Finish Carpenter in her 20s. Katie moved back to Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2002 to start her family. She gave birth to identical twins sons in 2003, a son in 2006, and a daughter in 2007. In 2009, Katie found the house at 111 Dixie Ave, with its 2 acres of city land and knew instantly that this would be her future homestead. By 2010, Katie had started raising chickens and cultivating the farm. Katie has been able to bring her vast skillset of working professionally as a carpenter, and also working on small organic family farms in Europe. In 2011 Katie met Mamadou. They were married shortly after, and in 2012, their son was born at Tabitha Farm as Katie's 3rd homebirth. Since then, Katie and Mamadou have worked cooperatively to provide supplemental food for their large family, while simultaneously selling their plants and products at the Kalamazoo Farmer's market. Katie graduated from WMU is 2015 with a degree in Africana Studies. Katie currently works full time as a Certified Lactation Counselor for the Kalamazoo County WIC office. Her work on Tabitha a farm is a way of life. She has a passion for local, sustainable, permaculture/horticulture, food sovereignty and food justice. She is the mother and creator of the geodesic dome greenhouse plants and flowers.
Mamadou was born in Dakar, Senegal. Mamadou is from the Djola ethnic group from the Casamance region of Senegal. Mamadou would spend his summer's in the Casamance region of Senegal helping his grandfather and other relatives farm the land, and watched in awe as his grandfather practiced "Bush Medicine", as the village herbalist, as well as assist his grandfather with the keeping of his bees. Mamadou's grandfather was an acclaimed herbalist who often had a line of people standing outside of his home to be treated. Mamadou remembers the importance of the raw honey with the herbs and roots that his grandfather foraged and grew. When Mamadou was a young man, he attended the the University in Dakar, Senegal. In 1998, Mamadou won a university wide essay writing contest to become a TA at Kalamazoo, College. Mamadou then moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan where he worked as a TA in French, and attended Kalamazoo College for an English degree. Mamadou has four daughters born in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2008. Mamadou met Katie is 2011 and they had their son in 2012. Mamadou is the back bone of Tabitha Farm. He raises the animals, and tends to his 6 bee hives. Along with working on the farm, Mamadou works full time in an assisted living facility.
Tabitha - Our Namesake
Tabitha was Katie's older sister. Tabitha was born in Kalamazoo with Down Syndrome. Kalamazoo was her home, where she went to school and where she met her friends. Tabitha was a radiant, spunky, and fully realized person who let everyone know what was on her mind. She was a fierce defender of family and was the glue that held everyone together. She enjoyed cheerleading, reading books, and brushing her long blonde hair. When Tabitha was a teenager she developed leukemia. Unfortunately Tabitha lost all her gorgeous long blonde hair due to chemotherapy. Tabitha was able to receive cancer treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, While Tabitha was getting chemotherapy treatments, she ran track in the Special Olympics and won gold and silver medals. Tabitha had a fierce spirit, and zest for life. She was of strong mind and personality. Unfortunately Tabitha succumbed to leukemia and passed away in Boston when she was 20 years old. One of the statements she made to our mother was that she "wanted to go home". When thinking about a name for the farm, I wanted something that was meaningful for my family and for myself, Even though Tabitha experienced joy with her family and special Olympic activities in her last few years of life, what she experienced in Boston was cancer treatments, pain and loss. Kalamazoo was her home. That was where her friends were, where she practiced her cheerleading, where she attended the Kennedy Center, where she worked, and where we built positive family memories. Tabitha is the namesake for our farm.