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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50th Anniversary Memories

“Some say the world will end in fire, some say ice,” according to Robert Frost’s poem, but my world began with both.

As a young girl, I explored the magical wonderland of Merry Lea. During winter, the meadows were transformed into fields of snowflake diamonds under the moonlit skies.

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Kinderforest Survives a Rainy Day

“We are trying to bring a new deliberateness to which programs we are running when and for whom,” says Marcos Stoltzfus, director of Merry Lea’s Environmental Education Outreach Team (EEO). “We’re asking ‘Who really is our audience?’ and ‘How do we most effectively impact them?’”

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President Stoltzfus Visits Merry Lea

Goshen College’s new president, Dr. Rebecca Stoltzfus, and her husband, Kevin Miller, came to visit Merry Lea on November 14. We treated them to a potluck that included homegrown hazelnuts, apples, sausage, venison, kale and squash. What did we talk about? In a nutshell, planetary health.

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sorghum evaporator

Campus Farm Enhances Liberal Arts Education

It’s the sorghum season at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College and two Goshen College students stand at the sorghum evaporator skimming foam off of a vivid green liquid.

Miguel Rodrigez, a junior history major, and Erica Ewing, a freshman considering both history and sustainability studies, are both early for a field trip with their Food History course. The group is touring the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm today.

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Walking Stick Commemorates 20 Years of Leadership

The Merry Lea Team celebrated Luke Gascho’s 20 years of leadership as executive director at a September staff meeting and surprised him with two gifts. Thanks to careful planning, the team managed to keep their astute and emotionally intelligent leader clueless until the right moment.

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Merry Lea Remembers Mark Eisfelder

Merry Lea lost a valuable ally and trusted friend on September 13 when Mark Eisfelder, age 57, died unexpectedly following a heart attack. Mark worked for Zehr Construction for 36 years, and in his role as a carpenter and foreman, frequently worked at Merry Lea during the past 19 years.

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Ruth milking

Farm Now Fully Staffed with Livestock

Animals are part of all natural systems. On a farm, they provide not only meat, milk or wool; they also reduce off-farm inputs by contributing their waste to the nutrient cycle. In educational settings like the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm, they enable students to learn animal husbandry. For all these reasons, a full barn is something to celebrate.

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A Striking Encounter Rewards Years of Research

The cornfield looked like any other cornfield in Northwestern Illinois. But the group tramping across it was an extraordinary combination of people…

“I wish I could do those three days all over again,” Dave Ostergren says about the week he dropped everything to walk in the woods and visit burial mounds in the rolling hills near Galena, Ill.

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Merry Lea Farm Blog

The Merry Lea Mission

  • Providing a natural sanctuary for northern Indiana’s plants and animals
  • Providing environmental education for people of all ages
  • Providing a setting for re-creating opportunities that benefit the human body and spirit while not exploiting the land or excessively disturbing its ecosystems
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