Tami and Hank Brackman stand in front of their table for Seed of Hope.
Jessie Fox | Col­legian

When Tami Brackman created a Facebook page to spread awareness about domestic vio­lence, she named it Seed of Hope. At the time, she had no idea the seed would be straw­berry popcorn.

“My kids and I had been in a domestic vio­lence sit­u­ation for a long time, and I had left, and went back, and left, and went back, and finally I was able to see the light, so to speak, and get out of it,” Tami Brackman said. “I wanted to do some­thing, and at that moment I really believe God put a vision on my heart to do some­thing and create a dif­ferent kind of healing. He put the idea in my mind about a self-suf­fi­cient farm.”

Tami Brackman said it was all in God’s plan for her to meet Hank Brackman, who had recently planted a jar of straw­berry popcorn seeds he found in his parents’ basement.

“I got divorced and lost every­thing I ever had. I was starting all over pretty much. I was down to the bottom of the bucket,” Hank Brackman said. “I used to walk everyday, and I didn’t have nothing, I didn’t know what I was doing, so I would pray to God for some­thing. I had a little farm and I wanted to do farming. It was some­thing I always liked to do.”

Hank planted a few rows of straw­berry popcorn, and, after a summer of hard work, it finally grew, and he picked every cob by hand. Hank and Tami brought their two ideas together to form Seed of Hope Straw­berry Popcorn — a popcorn grower and sup­plier based in Hillsdale with a mission to spread awareness about domestic vio­lence.

“I remember the first year my dad said, ‘What are you going to do with all of that popcorn?’ and I said, ‘I’m gonna sell it, Dad!’” Hank said. “Things come together and it’s amazing. It’s God.”

Last summer the Brackmans planted three acres of straw­berry popcorn, and this summer they plan to grow even more. Straw­berry popcorn is an heirloom seed which, when popped, is small, crunchy, and nearly hulless. According to Seed of Hope’s website, straw­berry popcorn has 350 times more antiox­i­dants than white or yellow popcorn. The name comes from its small, red ears which resemble straw­berries — not because it tastes like straw­berries.  

Seed of Hope sells its popcorn in jars online and at craft shows in Jackson, Adrian, Cold­water, and the Hillsdale area.

“We get a lot of people who come to our booth and see straw­berry popcorn and ask, ‘What is that?’ They’re curious. They want to know, and so they try it and they go, ‘Oh that’s really good!’ and what they do is they sniff it and say, ‘Does that taste like straw­berry to you?’ and it’s funny to watch,” Hank said.

Tami said craft shows are the perfect place to educate cus­tomers on domestic vio­lence.

“We reach a whole dif­ferent audience than what Domestic Harmony might reach,” Tami said. “They’re going to pick up the popcorn and it might be somebody who would never stop by that booth, and all the sudden they’ve been edu­cated.”
The Brackmans have big dreams for the future of their business: Tami said she’d love to allow domestic vio­lence sur­vivors to work with Seed of Hope while they acclimate back into the com­munity, and Hank said he’d like kids to visit the farm on field trips. For future and past suc­cesses, however, the Brackmans give all the credit to God.

“It’s really all a God thing. The way things have hap­pened — you can’t make this kind of stuff up,” Tami said. “Looking back, I was filled with doubt and God gives me the name Seed of Hope, of all things that it could ever be, and the seed happens to be a seed of popcorn even­tually.”