Meet Jen Schaap

food & farming program director | (231) 941-6584 x708

Jen Schaap studied Industrial Design at University of Michigan, which gave her an intimate understanding of how things get made, how things get done. But studying modern mass production and ideas of planned obsolescence also enhanced her appreciation of the opposite: craft, community, and things that endure.

“I walk to work, which I love. I advocate for affordable housing and smart towns and clean energy. I'm so impressed that the City of Petoskey now offers renewable sources for our utility bills!“

As director of our Food & Farming program, Jen is the leader of Groundwork’s largest program area, which includes farm to school, food access, culinary medicine, 10 Cents a Meal, Building Resilient Communities, and mentoring FoodCorps service members. The unifying theme in all of our Food & Farming projects is expanding the local food economy to provide healthy food to our communities and steering more dollars to local farm families and preserving farms.

Beyond her efforts at Groundwork, Jen plays bass guitar and sings—expressions of elemental connections and fundamental rhythms of the world. Her work at Groundwork shares a similar ethos. “I have a deep respect and admiration for farmers who are stewards of the land and are feeding our communities,” she says.

Good to know


Bachelor’s of Arts in Industrial Design at University of Michigan, further studies at Archeworks

In her spare time ...

Jen plays bass guitar and sings in three bands and is also a fan of the DIY ethic (one example: mending clothes to extend their life). She also has done small-scale farming, with a side focus on seed-saving and heritage grains. “I love my sickle,” she says.

Favorite spots in northern Michigan

The side-yard at her home, thanks to a newly installed rain garden (with help from Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council) which is creating a nice little haven to enjoy in her down time. A favorite beach is on Little Traverse Bay near Petoskey State Park.

Why the prop?

"Music has been a part of my life since I can remember ..."

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