Michigan and the Great Lakes

Michigan Family Farms and Farm Buildings

Landscapes of the Heart and Mind
Hemalata Dandekar

A window into the roles and construction of Michigan family farms


Michigan's family farms form the backbone of the state. One need only see the Centennial Farm signs that dot the sides of the state's country roads to understand that. Hemalata Dandekar shows in her new book just how connected those family farm buildings are to the families that inhabit them.

Fifteen family-farm case studies display farm buildings' relationship to the land they sit on, their function on the farm, the materials they're made with, the farm enterprises themselves, and the families who own them. Photographs, plans, elevations, and sections of typical, exemplary traditional farm buildings show the aesthetic and architectural qualities of those types of buildings across the state.

The ways in which the buildings serve the productive activities of the farm, shelter and nourish the people and livestock, yield a living, and enable the aspirations of farm people are shown in the words and photographs of the farmers themselves. The buildings form a window into the lives of Michigan's family farms and into the hearts and minds of the people who have lived and worked in them their entire lives.

"Thoughtfully documenting the voice and emotions of many who might otherwise remain unheard, Hemalata Dandekar provides in-depth accounts and insights, underpinned by quietly rigorous analysis, about family interactions and the perceptions, understandings, and memories of family members . . . a tribute to the indomitability of the human spirit as an enduring force in sustaining farm life on the Michigan farms."
—Anatole Senkevitch, Jr., Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan

Cover image by Hemalata C. Dandekar

Hemalata C. Dandekar is Department Head of City and Regional Planning at California Polytechnic State University. She specializes in urbanization, urban-rural linkages, rural development, and gender and housing. She developed her love of Michigan farmers and farm architecture during her years as a student and professor at the Urban Planning program of the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. She was Director of the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies and Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan.

Look Inside

Copyright © 2010, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 7 x 10.
  • 288pp.
  • 40 B&W photos, 1 map and 20 line drawings.
Available for sale worldwide

Due to the current global health event, shipping of print books may be delayed. Actual status will show in the shopping cart.

  • Paper
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05105-2

Add to Cart
  • $27.95 U.S.

Related Products



  • Barns, family farms, independent, sustainable farming,  local production, vernacular rural architecture, traditional buildings