Brigette Leach is District 1 Director on the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) Board of Directors, representing Farm Bureau members in Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties.
She works with her husband, Larry, and daughter Kelly, doing business as Avalon Farms. Located in Climax, Avalon Farms is currently focused on direct marketing fresh fruits and vegetables to restaurants, grocery stores, and at farmers markets in the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek areas. Their “Share of the Farm” home delivery service provides area families with 'packed to order' fresh fruits and vegetables. Hydroponic greenhouses are used to grow vine-ripened tomatoes, salad greens, and fresh herbs. A variety of other vegetables are grown in high tunnels and market gardens, with most of their irrigated acreage leased to a neighboring farm.
Although Avalon Farms was at one time involved in animal agriculture with dairy, beef and swine production, the family no longer has livestock. Located nearly half-way between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, Climax and the surrounding area have seen pressure from development and conversion of farm land to other uses. In 1999, the Leach family became the 50th farm to be enrolled in the state's Purchase of Development Rights program, thereby preserving approximately 530 acres of their home farm for use as a food production resource in the future. Whether the land is farmed by the Leach family themselves, or someone else, it will not be converted to other uses, and they feel more secure to make further capital investments into the operation.
Brigette has a long history as a Farm Bureau volunteer, having been a Community Action Group member, active member of the Young Farmer program, member of the Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, and chair of the county Policy Development and Promotion and Education Committees. She has been a member of the MFB Women's and Policy Development Committees. As well, she served on the state Promotion and Education Committee, and as chair of that committee, served two years on the MFB Board of Directors. First elected to the MFB Board to represent District 1 in 1999, Brigette continues to serve members by advocating for them at the local, state and national levels.