Anderson Farm Center

The Anderson Farm Center (AFC) is a major component of the mission for the park. Anderson Park Friends, Inc. (APF) is an advocate for an improved food system for southern Dane County.

New Horizons Project

Our vision includes expansion of the Anderson Farm Center within the next two years. A new center piece of our vision is to attract small businesses-growers-by leasing plots of land to them. Equipment storage and expansion of the irrigation system is needed to make the center more attractive to private growers. Potential plans for 2023 and beyond include making land available to growers in two to five acre increments through long-term leases.

New infrastructure could possibly include a multi-purpose shed, expansion of the irrigation system, and other agricultural equipment. This fall APF will develop a feasibility plan and budget to steer the completion of the project. New infrastructure could be added in 2023 or 2024.

The project’s intent is to use new infrastructure so volunteers can leverage their work in the food pantry/community gardens and other components of the park’s land management plan-forests, prairies, pollinator gardens, savannahs, and wildlife habitat.

If you like what we do, chip in a little to make a big difference, go to the form on:

Food Pantry Garden

Using the food pantry garden as an example, volunteers are currently collaborating with Little John’s Kitchen to dry and cure the current onion crop of 150 pounds. Adequate storage at the park is needed to reduce spoilage and expenses. A “greenhouse” project is being discussed for 2023.

Costs associated with food pantries and gardens are rising. The Badger Prairie Needs Network-Verona (served by the park’s food pantry garden) reports serving over 10,000 people during the pandemic. They and other volunteer organizations are dealing with inflated costs, supply chain problems while the cost and demand for food is increasing.

As of August 26, 2022, APF volunteers grew over 1,000 pounds of fresh vegetables for the Oregon, Belleville, and Verona food pantries.

Irrigation System - Phase 1 

We want to thank our members and the community for the many donations to our 2021 fundraising campaign for Phase 1 of the Irrigation Project. We reached our goal. A $22,000 irrigation system (financed by donations) was installed in early July2022 at the park. We are able to irrigate 23 garden plots-each a 1/4 acre plot-through an above-ground spigot. Ordinary garden hoses can be used to water plants. The life expectancy of the irrigation system is 20 years.

Overall Farm Center Concept

The Anderson Farm Center is a new concept connected to the 310-acre Anderson Farm County Park. The Park is located at 914 Union Road, Oregon, WI 53575. The farm center is located at 805 Union Road.  Anderson Park Friends is partnering with Dane County Parks (DCP) and UW-Extension, Oregon Food Pantry, and Rooted (a nonprofit specializing in small-scale agriculture). The center is one of three agricultural initiatives in the 25 DCP recreational parks.

Approximately 70 acres of farmland is identified in the master plan for a agriculture. The current concept of a farm center is focused primarily on approximately 40 acres of farmland west of Union Road. Additional land on the east side of Union Road is also designated for future agricultural activities. As of August 2022, approximately 12 acres are in use. Discussions this fall will consider an incremental expansion to additional acres.

The farm center was featured in the December 3, 2021 edition of the Isthmus Magazine. Click Here for more information.

An agricultural well was installed in May 2021 and is being currently being used. 

1. Food Pantry Garden

APF operates the food pantry garden (.25 acres) which is affiliated with the Madison Area Food Pantry Garden network. The garden supports three pantries: Oregon, Belleville, and Verona. In 2022, AFF will explore a partnership with Little John's Kitchen.

2. Community Gardens

The Center operates 22 community gardens (.25 acres each). APF partners with Rooted, UW-Extension-Dane County, and Dane County Parks. This project supports 17 Hmong families and local growers so they can have access to land. Multiple families are and supported by each plot. Each plot is leased for one calendar year.

3. Small Scale Agricultre

The third component will support 5-12 local small-scale agriculture businesses that will lease land for an extended period. This component will possibly start in 2023 with one or two growers.

If you like what we do, chip in a little to make a big difference, go to the form on:

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  • Roe M Parker
    published this page 2022-08-26 10:40:21 -0500