Our farm has a long history that can be traced back 164 years to the original family that settled here.  The story begins on January 8th in the year 1820, when Simon P. Kuhn was born in Livingston County New York.   At the age of 14, he traveled with his father Peter Kuhn from New York to Michigan, where they first settled in Washtenaw Co. near present day Ypsilanti.  They lived here for approximately two years, and then moved again some 40 miles north to Iosco Township in the spring of 1837.  Here they settled on a 120 acre tract of land which they purchased directly from the government.  Simon was the oldest of 8 children in the Kuhn family, with three other brothers and four sisters.

Sketch of Kuhn Homestead - circa 1880

Northern Path Family Farm

Beyond organic products guided by Permaculture ethics

The Legacy of Simon Kuhn

Sometime during his youth, Simon met with an accident that severely injured both of his legs and resulted in him being crippled for the rest of his life. This forced him to live under the care of his parents well into adulthood.  Eventually however, at the age of 36, Simon felt that it was time to part from his parents and venture out to settle his own land and start a family.  His father generously offered him 100 hundred dollars towards the purchase of land, and promised to help him clear a site for building a home and raising a barn.  And so it was that in the year 1856 Simon purchased an 80-acre parcel on Roberts Road in Iosco Township,which is the same location of our farm today.   

According to existing archives, it is said that the land that Simon purchased was “thick with old growth timber including oak, elm, ash, and other hardwoods”.  For Simon, the task of clearing the land seemed daunting as he was limited in his own physical abilities from the injury he suffered as a youth and was forced to use two canes just to walk.  His strength was also meager and he relied on assistance from friends and family to carry out comparatively simple chores.  However, what he lacked in physical strength was more than compensated for in his resolve and ambition.  With assistance from others, Simon and his family toiled for those initial years to transform the land into what would slowly evolve into a productive and very prosperous farm.  Still standing today are the house and the large dairy barn that were built by Simon.  A close look at the wood beams in both of these original structures reveals the directional cuts left by the blade of an adze.  Each timber was hand hewn to take the shape from round to square so that they could be connected using mortise and tenon joinery to the other beams.  It is difficult for us to imagine today how physically demanding the work was to hand-hew each of these old growth timbers in a time absent of power tools,using nothing but an adze.  If you’ve ever tried using an adze on a log you’ll soon understand how exhausting (and dangerous!) this can be. 
There are other clues to the past that can be found within the structures.  The most notable however is the inscription carved into one of the wooden walls inside the barn which reads M.Kuhn

​It is an honor to inherit this legacy of the Kuhn family who originally established this farm, and we feel that it is a great privilege to be the next generation to call this farm ‘our home’.  We also feel that it is our obligation to act as stewards of the land; simply remaining neutral by not harming the land is not enough.  Instead, we have a sense of responsibility to enact positive changes in the landscape, which, over the long haul, will further improve the land so that we may pass it on to the next generation in a healthier, more abundant, and more resilient state than when we assumed it.  Let us show you some of the systems that we’ve already put in place that are contributing to increased fertility and overall soil health on the farm!