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img Silver Creek Institute, 1409 Grimmer Road, Two Harbors, MN 55616
Resident Caretakers

Silver Creek Institute has provided a rewarding and beautiful home to a number of young couples who have wanted to try their hand at rural, sustainable living. In return, SCI has received loving and thoughtful care of its home, land and property while also expanding its ability to demonstrate sustainable living through the continued practices of gardening, greenhouse production, animal husbandry, composting, and other rural living practices.

Currently, Bianca Seay and Alex Deters are SCIs resident caretakers. Bianca moved to SCI back in 2009, after learning about the organization and caretaker opportunity through the Lake Superior Farm Beginnings program that SCI board member, Cree Bradley facilitates. SCI provided Bianca with the rural space she craved while having gardens, greenhouses, and enough land to host some livestock to gain the farming experience she desired. A couple years later, her partner Alex moved in, along with a couple adorable goats and angora rabbits, joining Bianca in a constant experimentation and learning towards sustainable food and fiber production and processing.

In 2013, Bianca and Alex found gardening success using hugelkultur beds (or hill culture), a permaculture gardening method that consists of creating raised garden beds by covering rotting wood with compost and soil, and then planting into them. In addition to permaculture techniques, Bianca and Alex experimented with straw bale gardening, use deep mulching for vegetables and flower, and improve the garden fertility through no-till practices. They sprout grain crops for animal fodder and their own consumption, and produce cultured and lactofermented foods. As a compliment (or alternative) to outdoor composting, Bianca and Alex have a vermiculture system, filling indoor bins with organic waste and red wiggler worms to create castings for garden fertilizer. The worms are thriving at SCI!

Past SCI Caretakers

Past SCI caretakers included Katie Larson and Waabi Furo, an artistically and musically creative couple who enjoyed gardening, experiential education with children, and walking the SCI wooded property.

Our original caretakers, Mike Braun and Erica Bleck (now a Braun!) deserve SCIs deepest thanks. With little guidance from a newly formed organization, Erica and Mike brought a lot of heart and soul, hard work, and early creativity to the organization. With the Braun’s help, SCI developed a mission statement, goals, and organizational materials, installed geothermal energy as a first step towards energy independence and clean energy demonstration, provided leadership with the NE MN Green Routes mapping project, and kept the greenhouse warm throughout the winter. Thanks for everything Erick and Mike!

Silver Creek Institute Caretakers

From left to right, former caretaker’s Erica and Mike Braun with Bosco their dog and Katie Larson and Waabi Furo, in front of the SCI greenhouse with SCI board member Cree Bradley and husband Jason. Not pictured, Bianca Seay and Alex Deters.