The Farm at Willow Run
Farm to Table... Right at VMRC
The Farm at Willow Run, VMRC's 40-acre farm property, was established in 2013 and produces 36,000 pounds of produce in a season. Farm staff, along with VMRC residents and volunteers from the community and Eastern Mennonite University's Sustainable Food Initiative, provide the labor across four seasons to grow and harvest produce including leaf lettuce, salad mix, spinach, beets, collard greens, chard, Irish and sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, peppers, turnips, tomatoes and sweet corn, as well as a variety of herbs.
From the hands of VMRC residents assisting in starting seeds in the cozy warmth of the greenhouse mid-winter to enjoying the abundance of food in the Main Street Café under the full summer sun, the Farm at Willow Run is one part of VMRC's innovative approach to a farm-to-table food system across the VMRC community.
The Farm at Willow Run Highlights:
- 2008 - 40 acres of land comprising pasture, woodland and wetlands, formerly known as the Layman Dairy/ Augsburger Property, is purchased by VMRC.
- 2013 - The Farm at Willow Run is established on 1.5 acres
- 2016 - Farm to Table Video produced showcasing The Farm at Willow Run
- 2017 - A 9.9 K photovoltaic solar array, funded by donors, is installed on the barn roof, providing the majority of electric power for farm operations
- A High Tunnel Hoop House is added to the farm through the USDA/NRCS and an all-season greenhouse is donated, allowing for year-round food production
- In 5 years, the farm has grown from 1.5 acres to 4 acres in tilth for produce
- A second 30x96 all-season High Tunnel is constructed by the generous support of a VMRC resident donor
- Through contributions from community donors, a 200 square foot walk-in cooler is installed, enhancing food quality, safety and preservation
- A second full-time farm position is added to serve in year-round food production and farm management
- A scalable, science-based composting program commences that will transform nutrients from VMRC kitchens into rich soil amendments for farm gardens