Dane County Parks is excited to foster two parks with community gardens and two parks with an agricultural-related focus, which includes agricultural education, workshops, public events, and more. The public and farming community are welcome to participate, learn more below.
Dane County Parks also has agricultural fields throughout the park system that demonstrate best management or innovative practices, such as relay cover crops. Many of these fields will be transitioned to native habitat and some will stay in production depending on the specific needs and goals for the park.
Approximately 70 acres of farmland is identified in the Anderson Farm County Park master plan for a market farm, farm learning, and interpretation. The current concept of a "farm center" is focused primarily on approximately 35 acres of farmland west of Union Road. The farm center consists of 23 community gardens, including a 0.5 acre food pantry garden which supports the pantries in Oregon, Belleville, and Verona. In 2021, over 2,200 pounds of vegetables were grown including onions, squash, peppers, cherry tomatoes, peas, green beans, and more. The gardens are supported in part by the Anderson Park Friends, Inc. and the community agriculture nonprofit, Rooted.
The mission of the Badger Prairie Community Garden at Badger Prairie County Park is to cultivate the spirit of community and enhance quality of life by creating and sustaining organic gardens of vegetables, flowers, plants, and herbs. The gardens foster environmental sustainability and stewardship, advance horticultural and nutritional education, provide a beautiful and natural retreat, and produce a healthy supplemental food source for its gardeners and the hungry. Local groups, schools, families, and individuals are able to reserve plots for a sliding scale fee at the garden allowing people of all ages and abilities a part in the farm to table movement. The gardens are supported in part by Badger Prairie Garden.
Schumacher Farm Park is a 116-acre outdoor museum representing local farm life during the 1920-30s and features a 10-acre prairie restoration, farmstead, and the Center for Rural History. The Center provides space to display artifacts and serves as a common area for hosting large group gatherings and indoor educational programs. The Friends of Schumacher Farm Park have established an educational program that represents the life of the area’s early settlers. In the warmer months, volunteers tend the chickens, the Heirloom garden, and the small orchard. The garden is planted with varieties typical of those planted in a farm garden of the 1920s and 1930s and are usually hardy, flavorful and disease-resistant. The garden also features a strawberry patch, grape vines, rhubarb, asparagus, raspberry and currant bushes. No herbicides or pesticides are used.
Silverwood County Park includes a century-old farmstead and just over 200 acres of farmland where growers are practicing regenerative agriculture. Regenerative agriculture philosophy relates to farming and grazing in harmony with nature and the community and focuses on improving soil health. Per its master plan, the park encourages the participation of partner organizations to create and support agricultural education. The Edgerton School District offers summer school classes and reading programs for the Edgerton Public Library. The historic Silverwood farmstead, now the Stonehouse Visitors' Center, is available for community meetings and education events. The park is supported in part by the Friends of Silverwood Park which have plans for future facilities including a learning center, greenhouse, and sleeping cabins for overnight experiences.