Environmentally friendly farm focus of next Entrepreneurship Forum

Contact: Alyssa Benson
Photo of Ben Martin.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The owner of an environmentally clean produce farm will be the next speaker at the Entrepreneurship Forum speaker series at Western Michigan University’s Haworth College of Business.

Ben Martin, owner of Soil Friends, will speak at 8 a.m. Friday, Dec. 11, in 2150 Schneider Hall. The event is free and open to the public and begins with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (269) 387-6059 or at wmich.edu/business/e-rsvp. Free parking is available at the Fetzer Center in Lot 72F.

Soil Friends

Soil Friends grows fruits and vegetables using environmentally clean farming practices. The company grows its produce and sells the produce, eggs and other products on a 22-acre farm in Galesburg. In 2016, Soil Friends will begin offering shares of the farm to the community. During the growing season, shareholders will have weekly access to fresh produce through a program known as Community Supported Agriculture. Soil Friends will also begin offering "you-pick" crops.

Ben Martin

Martin launched Soil Friends while attending WMU with help from the Michigan Small Business Development Center located in the Haworth College of Business. He earned his bachelor's degree in business administration in 2014, majoring in food and consumer package goods marketing. In addition to the management of Soil Friends, Martin sells produce and other goods and provides marketing services on behalf of other farmers.

About the Entrepreneurship Forum

The Entrepreneurship Forum is a monthly series hosted by WMU’s Haworth College of Business designed to bring stories of entrepreneurial success to the greater Kalamazoo community. The series is devoted to entrepreneurs and unique stories of startup success. To learn more about the series, visit wmich.edu/business/entrepreneurship-forum.

Future Entrepreneurship Forum Speakers

  • Jan. 15: Ryan Vaughn, Varsity News Network.
  • Feb. 12: Chris Lampen-Crowell, Gazelle Sports.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Caitlin Smith at (269) 387-6059 or register at wmich.edu/business/e-rsvp. To suggest an entrepreneur who should be considered for the series, contact Stacey Markin at stacey.markin@wmich.edu.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.