Historic Barns Park

Theories Into Stories

We practice what we teach.

Historic Barns Park is a 56-acre parcel within the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City and is being redeveloped into a one-of-a-kind regional hub for public recreation, community events, agriculture, horticulture, and environmental design. Owned by a municipal Recreational Authority, three nonprofit partners help manage the landscape and events: SEEDS Ecology & Education Centers, the Botanic Gardens at Historic Barns Park, and the Traverse City Community Garden.

Historic Barns Park is a hub for SEEDS programs

As a management partner of this public park, SEEDS Ecology & Education Centers’ mission comes alive in all its facets. We operate out of the old Blacksmith Shop and engage with the landscape to practice small scale farming, energy education, and carbon drawdown solutions that the public can visit. SEEDS EcoSchool programs host field trips, EcoCorps crew members help with improvement projects, and EcoStrategies concepts are shared through exhibits, tours, and demonstrations.

Our vision.

Based on our white-paper study of the top ten strategies to bring the entire Park toward carbon-neutrality, SEEDS has some big visions! Our key design constructs are building with energy efficiency and ecosystem repair. We partner with engineers, biologists, educators, and artists to create compelling designs and engage the SEEDS EcoCorps crew members as our primary installation crews.

Are you an angel who would like to see something of the following manifest? We need both financial support and skilled trades talent to make dreams a reality. Please contact us!

  • Plumbing, insulation, and other renovations for the old Blacksmith Shop

  • Solar-ready roof upgrades for the Blacksmith Shop

  • Conditioned food storage capacity

  • Seasonal outdoor classroom and kitchen

  • Micro wind generation and exhibit

  • Carbon sequestration and regenerative agriculture research and exhibits

  • Scaling compost operations

  • Wetland restoration and exhibits

  • A “Willow Way” garden and play area that demonstrates biomass capacity

Places of Interest at HBP

Learn More

The SEEDS Farm

The SEEDS Farm allows us to feed the neighborhood and farm carbon with regenerative agricultural practices.

Energy Efficiency

SEEDS and our park partners have taken measures to increase energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable technology.


Thanks to healthy wetlands, Grand Traverse has some of the highest water quality of all of the Great Lakes’ bays.

Our Stories

Wetlands, or areas that are regularly or periodically saturated with water, are essential parts of the Grand Traverse Bay Watershed. 

Upcycling into Lumber Posted by SEEDS on Apr 06 , 2022 - 02:33 pm Click Here for Wood Rescue Items for Sale Above: EcoCorps Assistant Crew Leader Caitlin mills a tree trunk next to the SEEDS Workshop at Historic Barns Park in Traverse City.   SEEDS EcoCorps is giving new life to downed trees! Locally-felled oak, [...]

The Next Phase of the Food Revolution Posted by SEEDS on Dec 13 , 2021 - 12:15 pm DONATE TODAY! Above: Marion Elementary students show off their school garden that they tended during summer camp with SEEDS. They also compost! Let them tell you why that's so important in this video.   Nutrition comes from [...]