Faces of Milan

Vickie Zilke

Vicki Zilke
Farmer

Vicki Zilke is a farmer with a background in pediatric nursing, education, and marketing. She is passionate about healthy food access and supports organizations and individuals working to address healthy food, healthy people, and healthy communities.

Vicki earned her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Family and Child Nursing from the University of Michigan. After graduating, she worked in nursing education, primary care pediatrics, and information technology in electronic medical records before launching Zilke Vegetable Farm in 2009 with her husband Tom.

Zilke Vegetable Farm is a large CSA and a busy roadside stand. They work with multiple institutions in the Ann Arbor area to provide workplace wellness markets, and partner with local schools and institutions to increase local produce in the cafeterias and dining halls.

Vicki is a graduate of the first-of-its-kind Food Hub Management course offered by the University of Vermont. She assisted in the development of the Ypsilanti Marketplace Hub and is a researcher with New Growth Associates for projects such as the Washtenaw Policy Food Council’s Farm to Institution Project and the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Food Innovation Center’s Farm-to-Institution. A number of funded research projects have been conducted on her farm in partnership with Michigan State University to identify best practices for reduced tillage and organic vegetable production success. Vicki also spoke before congress in Washington D.C., advocating for healthy food access when the Congressional Tri-Caucus presented their recent farm bill legislation.

Vicki and her husband Tom are long-time Milan residents. Between them, they have four adult children: Shannon, Emily, Ben, and David

Vicki is currently preparing to launch another business in her hometown, a year-round farm stand that will be located in the former Schultz Bottled Gas building on Dexter Street.

Photo Credit: Mary Kerkes

Sponsored by Zilke Vegetable Farm

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