Merry Lea Farm Blog

The Merry Lea Team: Transitions

Having trouble keeping track of all the comings and goings at Merry Lea? Meet our new farm manager, environmental educator, international volunteer and SEED recruiter. Meanwhile, Farm Manger Ellie Schertz left us for Tucson. In 2020, we expect to welcome a new executive director.

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Farm manager reflects on six years

Farm Manager Jon Zirkle will conclude his employment with Merry Lea at the end of March 2019 after nearly six years.

Looking back over those years, Jon has a long list of favorite things about his job: Tree pruning, cover cropping, watching students be transformed by working with their hands. Hearing the birds, seeing the seasons change, working with volunteers and co-workers.

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Farm Team Talks Shop with Perennial Farmers

In December 2018, John Mischler and I attended the Perennial Farm Gathering hosted by the Savanna Institute in Madison, Wis. The Savanna Institute is a non-profit organization that supports the development of restorative, savanna-based agricultural systems.

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Stephan Powless trimming goat hooves

ASI 2018: Meet Stephan Powless

What do you do when the things you were really good at are no longer who you are? This is the question that brought Stephan Powless, Lagro, Ind., to Goshen College. Unlike most undergraduates, Stephan is a 32-year-old father of three with an eight-year career in the military behind him.

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ASI 2018: Meet Hannah Wheeler

Agriculture has always been a part of Hannah Wheeler’s life. Hannah grew up on a 40-acre family hobby farm in Hudson, Mich., where the high school mascot is a longhorn steer. She has fond memories of exhibiting market steers at the local county fair and helping her family grow their own meat and vegetables.

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ASI 2018: Meet Gabe Miller

Gabe Miller, a junior sustainable food systems major from Ithaca, New York, is a student who thrives at the intersection of big ideas and hands on learning. A conversation with Gabe zigzags between food sovereignty, human rights issues and the building of solar ovens.

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ASI 2018: Meet Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller has an ornery streak. He is not afraid to be a proud meat lover among vegetarians or the tractor enthusiast among market gardeners. He has a practical bent and a scrappy willingness to live with the tensions inherent in today’s farming landscape.

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ASI 2018: Meet Clayton Wassilak

Clayton Wassilak, a rising senior from Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., is a man of many interests with the desire to tie them all together. The Agroecology Summer Intensive (ASI) at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College is helping him do that.

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Summer in the Soil

By spending time at Merry Lea Sustainable Farm in the heart of summer, Agroecology Summer Intensive students and volunteers are afforded unique opportunities of seeing food and fiber production in action. But hopefully the experience doesn’t stop at seeing food production. It is the intent of Merry Lea to have a farm that also offers a chance to fall in love with the mysteries of the natural world, to feel connected to place, and to feel rejuvenated by the surroundings of fresh air, sunshine, and a community of people and creatures. Education in the field can be personally transformative.

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