Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia Community Farm
An official non-profit education and conservation organization since 1989, Philadelphia Community Farm has influenced the area with their “life-sharing community” and mission "to restore health and vitality to people, animals, plants and the earth." The word "Philadelphia" refers to the spirit of 'brotherly love' by which this organization seeks to live and work.
Philadelphia Community Farm owns 353 acres of land adjacent to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, near Osceola, Wisconsin--245 of which has been dedicated as a state natural area and is managed by Standing Cedars Community Land Conservancy in partnership with the Wisconsin DNR Stewardship Program. This natural area may be eligible for sustainable forest management certification. PCF in partnership with Standing Cedars established a Farm and River Greenway, and currently, four Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farms are located in the Greenway providing locally-grown, organic, and biodynamic food to over 1000 area families and several food shelves. PCF is also deeply dedicated to providing education to people of all ages, nationalities, and developmental needs and works with partners such as Youth Farm and Market Project, Jane Addams School for Democracy, National Youth Leadership Council, and Milwaukee YMCA AmeriCorps to provide nature experiences to inner city children and families. Through training offered at the UW-Madison Arboretum’s Earth Partnership Program and UW Madison’s RESTORE Initiative and supported by local workshops, more than 22 schools in Western Wisconsin are now bringing children outside to their own school yards or nearby natural areas for nature experiences. Finally, retreat and “informal adult learning” are offered through the Cedar Bend Folk School, a log retreat building located in the center of the Greenway.
In May 2008, the Osceola Medical Center auctioned an existing barn from the future site of their new hospital. Philadelphia Community Farm seized the opportunity to recycle an existing structure and in May 2008 the barn was moved to their land. Over this past year the vision has been developed for this barn as the center piece of Philadelphia Community Farm’s expanded sustainability and educational programs. The barn will be renovated to include large educational spaces, food production operations for a year-round CSA, a root storage cellar, and a dining hall. It will be designed to both maintain the barn’s architectural integrity and shape, and also have a small impact on Nature, (including energy-efficient construction, possibly a geo-thermal heating/cooling system, and the use of local/natural materials, many of which come from the farm’s site itself). Second floor workshop space will be used for winter pre-fab construction of small-sized energy-efficient homes to be used for co-worker and re-treat housing. The project is currently in the planning and design process. The barn and some of the home construction will use whole tree construction methods developed by Roald Gunderson, www.wholetrees.com. (See photo of a greenhouse constructed last fall at Philadelphia Community Farm that was designed and built by Roald and his crew here and here.)
Dovetail Partners initially worked with the Philadelphia Community Farm during an exploration of possible forest certification of some of their preserved Oak Savanna Restoration, and will advise in future forestry planning. Additionally, Dovetail Partners is helping to develop community support for a possible St. Croix River demonstration project using TIF (Tax Increment Financing) funds for farmland preservation, new tourism facilities and farmer housing. PCF, Dovetail and Whole Trees will work to create training programs for farmers and contractors in whole tree construction; and for farmers, and foresters in forest management with an eye toward cultivating the forest as a sustainable resource for supporting this kind of innovative and affordable green housing.
More information: http://www.philadelphiacommunityfarm.org/
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