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.
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!
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.
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.