About the Farm:

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, IMG_1868
but also Merry Lea’s Prek-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.

Learn More:

To find out the latest happenings at Merry Lea Sustainable Farm, visit our Facebook page and the Merry Lea Blog.  Otherwise, keep reading our more general descriptions below.



To find Merry Lea Sustainable Farm, follow directions on the Merry Lea directions page to Rieth Village where this is parking and easy access to the farm fields, gardens, and buildings.  The address is the same as the Rieth Village physical address: 4415 W. CR 200 S, Albion IN 46701.

Short Tours: We are open to visitors twelve months a year.  If you would like a short tour or time to speak with farm staff, advance notice is appreciated.  To plan a visit or ask questions, contact Agroecology Director Jon Zirkle (jzirkle@goshen.edu) or Farm Manager Kate Friesen (katef@goshen.edu).

Volunteering at or Working for Merry Lea Sustainable Farm:

Volunteering: Interested in getting outdoors and some soil under your nails?  Come volunteer at Merry Lea! Check out this video about one volunteer’s experience.  Contact Maria Tice at mariact@goshen.edu to to learn more and get started.  There is a form to fill out.  There are a few ways to volunteer, including being a WWOOF volunteer (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) which includes living on site or volunteering on an occasional non-residential basis (Click here to find us on the WWOOF USA website to learn more).

Paid Internships: We have paid internships during the growing season, as well, accepted on a competitive basis.  Email Jon Zirkle for applications (jzirkle@goshen.edu).


Farm Setting and Acreage:

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

Pigs 2015The 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.



Collaborative Projects and Research:

One of the farm’s newest projects has been the establishment of a five-acre “woody perennial polyculture” planting just south of Rieth Village on Merry Lea property that begin in 2014.  As a research project with Savannah Institute based in Illinois, this project at Merry Lea involved planting 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 are 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 continue to see this space grow and mature.

What We Produce

Vegetables and herbs (organically managed, and includes many heirloom varieties)

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 for meat and for eggs)

Pigs (coming late spring 2016)

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.

Our fruit and vegetables have been 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 have been made to The Window in Goshen and to the Wolf Lake Food Pantry.

We remain open to new markets in 2016 and beyond.