Merry Lea Sustainable Farm

***Looking to volunteer at Merry Lea Sustainable Farm?  Check out this video about one volunteer's experience.  Contact Maria Tice at mariact@goshen.edu to to learn more. ***

 

The Merry Lea Sustainable Farm is an educational farm demonstrating sustainable agriculture practices for students and the visiting public.  It serves not only the Agroecology Summer Intensive, but also Merry Lea's K-12 programs, the Masters in Environmental Education program, public programs and the wider community.  The farm is located just south of Wolf Lake, IN in a glaciated part of northeast Indiana.  We welcome you to come visit. 

 

Want to find out the latest happenings at Merry Lea Sustainable Farm?  If so, visit our Facebook page and the Agroecology Blog.  Otherwise, keep reading our more general descriptions below.  

 

Upcoming Opportunity for Youth: on October 11th from 8 am to 3:30 pm, Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College will convene an educational opportunity for youth ages 13-20, enabled by a grant from USDA-SARE!  For more information, contact Jon Zirkle (farm manager and agroecology instructor) at jzirkle@goshen.edu to learn more or to RSVP.  See PDF flyer below to glean more details!  

 

Farm Setting and Acreage:

 

Our farm comprises nearly ten acres, scattered over several fields near the northeast corner of the Merry Lea property. 

 

The main farm, including our offices, are at Rieth Village, located off of CR 200 S (Bear Lake Rd.).  Production fields are adjacent to woodlands, meadows and wetlands.  

 

Address of the farm:

4415 W. 200 S, Albion, IN 46701.  

 

Collaborative Projects and Research:

 

One of the farm's newest projects coming up in Spring 2014 is the establishment of a five-acre "woody perennial polyculture" planting just south of Rieth Village on Merry Lea property.  As a research project with Savannah Institute based in Illinois, this project at Merry Lea will involve the planting of mixed species of understory perennials like rhubarb and asparagus, bramble and shrub fruits, vine fruits (grapes and hardy kiwi), fruit trees, and nut trees.  Rows will be separated by strips of grass that someday will be grazed by livestock.  We intend for this mixed planting to showcase the benefits of diversified, perennial agricultural systems where both botanical crops and animals are raised together.  We at Merry Lea Sustainable Farm aim to demonstrate how diversified farms can make efficient use of limited space, reduce risk of crop failure, and encourage biodiversity.  Stay tuned as we approach planting in April or May.

 

What We Produce 

 

Merry Lea Sustainable Farm is a small, diversified farm.  At the present, we raise:

  • Vegetables and herbs (organically managed)
  • Tree fruit (apple, plum, cherry, peach, pear, serviceberry, and pawpaw in the future)
  • Berries (raspberry and blackberry, primarily)
  • Tree nuts (trees are in very early stages of establishment)
  • Shiitake mushrooms (cultivated on logs)
  • Poultry (chickens and guinea fowl)

 

Where We Market

 

As the farm began, produce raised on the farm was used almost exclusively for Merry Lea programs and made available to students in residence, as well as donations to nearby food pantries.  This has continued in subsequent years. 

 

In 2013, our fruit and vegetables were marketed to the Goshen Farmers Market, Maple City Market (Goshen), Pizzeria Venturi (Goshen), and to Goshen College food services as well as to students. staff, and faculty at the Goshen College campus.  Food donations were made to The Window in Goshen and to the Wolf Lake Food Pantry. 

 

We are exploring new markets in 2014.