Did you know MNP has a farm?
What is the farm?
Currently Dr. Michael Schlappi of Marquette University, Fondy Food Center and a local farmer who grows traditional row crops through a no-till agricultural practice are renting land to grow crops. Holding some land in agriculture helps us build healthy soils and keep invasive species out of these areas while we are restoring other areas of the Preserve.
The crop that Marquette University is growing is rice. The goal of this research project is to see if rice can be a new commercial cash crop for farmers in Wisconsin. Dr. Schlappi is utilizing the natural wetlands at MNP to grow strains of rice that were originally cultivated 8,000 -10,000 years ago starting in the Mesopotamia area. They are testing many different strains of rice from Russia, Japan, China, Thailand and Italy. Currently there are two acres of cold tolerant rice being grown, harvested and marketed locally.
Fondy Food Center works with immigrant farmers who need access to land to grow vegetables, fruit and flowers to sell at local farmers markets in Milwaukee. Fondy Food Center is currently renting 40 acres of land at MNP which provides 25 farmers with long term land access. The Fondy farmers are growing over 100 different crops which greatly improves our biodiversity for pollinators and other wildlife!