Rodale Institute Midwest Organic Center at Etzel Sugar Grove Farm
Frontier Co-op has given $150,000 to the Indian Creek Nature Center’s Etzel Sugar Grove Farm project. The funds will be used to help develop an organic farm to educate and feed the local community. The project includes a USDA-certified organic field named for Frontier Co-op.
The 190-acre farm was given to the Nature Center by George Etzel in 2016. The land includes 80 acres of agricultural land, 80 acres of timber, 20 acres of pasture, and 10 acres of farmstead.
Indian Creek, which is located 30 miles east of our Iowa headquarters, envisions the Etzel Sugar Grove Farm bringing people and organizations together to help restore the health and integrity of Iowa’s farms, watersheds, and environment — goals that align with our commitment to promote organic agriculture and environmental sustainability.
Indian Creek Nature Center currently consists of over 290 acres of land, with four miles of trails, year-round public and private educational programs and sustainable living exhibits.
Many of their activities are geared to kids. Their youth camps, trail walks, field trips and other programs are designed to connect kids to nature early to help them develop understanding and passion for the natural world. They feel people who are passionate about nature as children will grow into adults who work to protect it — a new generation of environmental stewards.
The Etzel Sugar Grove Farm will allow the development of a totally organic, community-style farm/garden. Indian Creek will use some of it as learning gardens to teach sustainable farming practices — with their harvests donated to local pantries and food banks. Some lots will be used by organizations such as Feed Iowa First, a food bank that grows food on land provided by churches, businesses and others.
The Nature Center's commitment to sustainability includes classes in beekeeping and organic growing, rain gardens to control runoff, solar energy, permeable paving, wetland restoration, land preservation and green operational practices.
In addition to our monetary donations, Frontier Co-op sends a crew of volunteers to Indian Creek Nature Center each Earth Day to help plant, build structures and clean-up the land.
We're happy to have Indian Creek Nature Center nearby and proud to support their outstanding programs to help our community explore and appreciate the natural world.