Coming Soon: CACC Community Seed Library

CACC is thrilled to announce that we will be constructing a seed library at our headquarters in Lake, Michigan. This seed library will support community and individual gardeners by providing affordable access to a diverse range of vegetable, herb, and companion plant seeds adapted to our growing conditions. (Buying good seed can get expensive fast, and selecting the best varieties for our region can be daunting to a new gardener.) This effort will also allow us opportunity to have a multi-generational impact by providing training and coaching to gardeners of all ages, and by encouraging family participation.

We are also excited to incorporate seed saving training into the community gardens we support. Currently, members of our organization are directly involved with managing 3 local food bank and community gardens. We also provide resources to 3 additional community and school gardens.

This new program includes a membership in the Seed Saver’s Exchange Community Seed Resource Program (CSRP), a nationwide network of seed libraries, community seed banks, and seed saving educators. The CSRP provides tools and guidance to community groups in the United States who are interested in creating seed-focused events, exchanges, libraries, and gardens. The CSRP is a collaboration between Seed Saver’s Exchange and Seed Matters, an organization that supports community seed initiatives and empowers community organizing around sustainable seed. CACC is proud to join with over 300 community groups in 41 states who have joined this program.

On a social-ecology level, we believe that local food systems are imperative to efforts to reduce oil and energy consumption, to conserve clean water, and to empower communities. Food sovereignty, the ability to control our own food supply, grants us the economic leverage we need to abandon destructive systems. The absence of food sovereignty in our communities, and the resulting reliance on the employer-paycheck-grocery store model, ensures an ample supply of laborers for oilfields, pipelines, and other destructive industrial projects. Food sovereignty programs teach people another way to put food on the table; a way that allows workers to develop their own systems of production that keep them at home with their families and communities.

Seed libraries are also essential in preserving genetic diversity. Many unique varieties can serve specific needs for small scale farmers, but will never be featured in a commercial seed catalog. An initial hurtle for the novice gardener is often an uninformed choice in commercial seed that then does poorly in a non-industrial setting. Our seed library will focus on preserving and distributing varietal genetics that thrive in several micro-climates local to our region. We plan to help new gardeners select seed that will do well in their particular garden, making for a positive first-time experience. With a volunteer base of over 150 people from across the state of Michigan, we feel we have a unique opportunity to preserve seed varieties that are unique to our bioregion. Stay tuned for more info.

Interested in getting involved or donating seed? Call the office at 989.544.3318
or email here, and be sure to include “CACC Seed Library” in the subject line

Sustainable Garden and Kitchen: Chicken or Tofu Country Captain

This column celebrates healthy soil, seeds,
and a 
local harvest.
In a world wired for fast food and chemically treated fruits and vegetables brought in from fields afar, we honor the patient work of the gardener, the farmer, and the imaginative cook.

Chicken Country Captain - Try tofu for a healthy vegetarian alternative!
Chicken Country Captain – use tofu, agave nectar and vegetable stock for a delicious vegan dish

Chicken or Tofu Country Captain

This recipe is based on a Southern dish said to have originated in Savannah, Georgia, a busy seaport in colonial days. Supposedly, a sea captain sailing the spice routes gave a favorite recipe to a Savannah friend to thank him for his southern hospitality. Columbus, Ohio also claims this dish. This is a hearty meal sure to warm you on a cold winter night!


*vegan-option ingredients in italics

Cooking spray
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
2-4 cloves chopped garlic
2 green bell peppers chopped (can use 1 red and 1 green)
2/3 cup finely chopped parsley/save 3 tablespoons of parsley to sprinkle on top of dish
3 cups /28 oz. of diced canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup raisins (can use 1/4 cup yellow and 1/4 cup dark)
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Pinch or more cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon soy or tamari sauce (use tamari for less gluten)
*1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
1/2- 1 teaspoon Tabasco or similar hot sauce
1-1 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
*2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cornstarch, wheat flour or rice flour dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
* 1 1/2 pounds of chicken* or tofu cut into 2″x 3 ” pieces. *Can use all breast meat or mixture. Take meat off bone or cook longer if using bone in chicken.
1/4 cup almonds
Cooked rice, millet, quinoa or any other grain


Chop and measure out vegetables, toast 1/4 cup almonds in oven or on stove top, cook grain of choice and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat large Dutch oven or large fry pan with cooking spray and oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until soft about four minutes, add green peppers and sauté for seven minutes, add garlic and parsley, and stir in tomatoes, raisins and all spices. Add honey and Tabasco. Cook at low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and stir in corn, stock, and cornstarch mixture.

If your Dutch oven is large enough, add the chicken or tofu on top and push down into the sauce OR transfer to an 11″ x 14″ baking dish, tightly cover the baking dish and bake 30-35 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 -15 minutes to reduce the sauce and make the top slightly dark and crusty.
(PD)chicken country captain

Serve over cooked grain and garnish with parsley and toasted almonds, which although optional, add a really desirable
textural crunch!

This recipe comes from CACC director and chef, Connie Beauvais. Since 1978, Connie has been cooking professionally at delis, restaurants, and catering companies. She has also organized the menu and food for CACC’s Kitchen at Wheatland for several years. Connie is the owner of “Lettuce-Duet,” a personal chef and catering company.

Connie Beauvais
Connie Beauvais