• Tami & Hank Brackman

Strawberry popcorn spreads domestic violence awareness

People at a booth and tradeshow
Tami and Hank Brackman stand in front of their table for Seed of Hope. Jessie Fox | Collegian

By Jessie Fox - April 13, 2017

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.”

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