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Wolf Ridge Organic Farm


The Wolf Ridge Farm is an especially good immersive learning space on campus. While trails, lakes, and ropes courses inspire students’ enthusiasm and interest in the environment, their hands-on work at the farm expands this awareness to the food they eat. At the farm, they get dirty and work hard while learning about crucial issues such as clean water and pollinator health. The lessons young learners get from the farm stay with them.

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    The farm is located in Wolf Ridge's Sawmill Creek Valley and features 3 hoop-houses, crop fields, classroom space, and a processing building.

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    Our goal is to grow all of the vegetables we serve in our Dining Hall. That's locally-grown organic food for about 140,000 of meals each year!

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    Visitors can participate in classes about growing food sustainably.

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    These peppers might be destined for the fresh pizza you make in the farm's brick oven during Pollinator's or Soils class!

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    Fresh salad greens and other vegetables are harvested by students and staff.

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    Hoop-houses and veggie fields, 2019

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    Making wood-fired pizza from fresh-harvested veggies is part of learning


The Wolf Ridge Organic Farm…

  • Grows, harvests, processes, and delivers fresh local organic food to the Wolf Ridge Dining Hall.
  • Educates students, teachers, and parents that attend Wolf Ridge ELC about healthy eating, sustainable farming methods, the benefits of eating locally grown food, and land stewardship.
  • Reduces our carbon footprint by trucking in less food from long distances.

The Wolf Ridge Organic Farm includes three 30’ x 96’ high tunnel greenhouses, a processing building for washing, cooling, and storing vegetables, an outdoor classroom, a wood-fired pizza oven, pollinator gardens, and crop and research fields. A wood post fence encloses the farm perimeter. The clearing of fields, landscape work, soil preparation, and fundraising are ongoing. The farm continues to grow every year!

Goals

  • 2000 young people will be educated in-depth each year about sustainable farming practices through in-person or online learning opportunities.
  • On-farm internships will expand the pool of knowledgeable people who are using sustainable farming practices and learning about added value production.
  • Contribute to an emerging regional food system.
  • Provide most of the vegetables, and herbs that Wolf Ridge needs throughout the year.
  • Reduce the expense of trucking in fresh food for Wolf Ridge and reduce the carbon footprint.
  • Provide hands-on opportunities for families to learn together
  • Improve soil fertility

History

Click for a larger view

It’s taken nearly eight years of perseverance to create the farm that exists today. Wolf Ridge Organic Farm was molded with great intentionality, vision, and drive, with plenty of detours along the way.  From the logging to the grubbing to the Blood, Sweat, and Tears, it’s the combined effort of many hands that have created a space for growing and gathering there.

Wolf Ridge knows well the importance of self-care and community care and is putting them into practice as the organization maintains its momentum at the farm through this uncharted pandemic territory. Through its five-year harvest history, Wolf Ridge Organic Farm has continued to model a resilient and just food system that strives to supply healthy, organic, and affordable food for meals in the dining hall. During COVID-19’s campus closure, we have offered our resources to the local community through efforts such as supplying our local food shelf and the Finland Farmer’s Market.

Production

Meet our Farm Manager

Sarah Mayer is the manager of Wolf Ridge Farm and has been educating others in nature and in food production for nearly 20 years, primarily in the midwest. A native of the Great Lakes region in rural southeast Wisconsin, Sarah values access to clean fresh water and fertile soils and managing those resources with great care. This sense of land stewardship was instilled in this farmer as a child and continued to grow with her tenure at The Nature Conservancy, tending native and naturalized perennials in the precious tallgrass prairies, wetlands, and oak openings. Sarah’s dedication to preserving our great places pairs nicely with nourishing others with nutrient-dense food, while sharing her passion to share the how’s and why’s of local food production.

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center is a playground for those who wish to learn about food production systems and the natural world that supports them, which makes it a good fit for a farm educator.  Sarah finds networking with other farmers and farm educators to be the key to effective outreach and education.  She leans on and contributes to the following networks and organizations to achieve a balance of producing food and teaching about food: Wisconsin Local Food Network, Farm-Based Education Network, Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, Minnesota Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, Four Season Farming Community, Market Gardening Success Group, Lean Farmers, Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service.