Inn Serendipity partners with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI) was founded in Wisconsin in 1984 as a public, nonprofit research and education institute to develop and share agricultural concepts and practices that promote resource-conserving, ecologically sustainable and economically viable food and farming systems. Its mission is to enhance the fertility of the soil, the quality of food, the health of animals, and the strength of the human spirit by revitalizing the culture of agriculture. The institute serves both farmers and the consuming public that depend on multifunctional agriculture systems for healthy food, natural resource management and vibrant rural communities. MFAI programs serve a wide range of farmers and gardeners - from small and midsize organic farmers to larger conventional producers. While many of MFAI programs focus on Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest, others are national and international in scope.
The Cooperative Enterprise Program developed by Inn Serendipity and MFAI provides young people enthusiastic about running a sustainable farming business an opportunity to transform their ideas into real operations. The internship was based on the farm at Inn Serendipity and provides a "second-year" training opportunity for a entrepreneurial grower who has completed MFAI's (or CRAFT's) 8-month organic and biodynamic intensive gardening internship at the time.
The institute's major program areas are:
2. student internship training program for beginning farmers and agricultural professions;
3. grass-roots public policy support for sustainable agriculture at state, national and international forums; and
4. sustainable food systems development and urban-rural, farmer-consumer connections through conferences, publications and marketing programs.
The institute conducts multi-year, on-farm and experiment station research projects on topics such as integrated farming systems, nutrient management, manure management, crop rotations, soil quality and systems profitability. Education and outreach are carried out through regular workshops, field days and symposiums sponsored by the institute throughout the Upper Midwest region. The institute collaborates on these projects with a wide range of academic, community and government programs; farmers and farm organizations; private agriculture-related industries and other farming institutes and nonprofit centers.
Some of MFAI's current project collaborators include the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Cooperative Extension, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the University of Wisconsin Center for Integrated Agriculture Systems, and departments of plant pathology, agronomy, soil science, agricultural economics, Practical Farmers of Iowa, the Illinois Department of Agriculture Sustainable Agriculture Program, Walworth County Farm, Arlington Research Station, Lancaster Research Station, Sharon International Grain, Wisconsin Nutrient Pest Management Program, Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial, USDA-ARS Dairy Forage Center, USDA-ARS National Soil Tilth Lab., University of Illinois, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection.