This series is made possible by the support of Friends of the Big Sioux River. They're celebrating Earth Day with the Big Sioux Brew and a river clean-up event. Details here.
Simplified: A Sioux Falls couple is turning an acre of floodplain land into an urban farm. They hope it's a way to bring a love of gardening to a local school and their broader neighborhood. Meet IronFox Farms.
Tell me more
Dan and Megan EisenVos first noticed the vacant plot of land when they moved to east-central Sioux Falls in 2020. A year later – and with a deal from the previous owner – it was theirs.
Now, the farm is a registered nonprofit, zoned as conservation space and recognized by the USDA. They've also partnered with nearby Eugene Field Elementary School to teach students about planting, tending and harvesting a garden plot.
"It's exciting to see the movement in Sioux Falls towards improving our food system, improving local foods using the land that we have," Megan EisenVos said.
Why it matters
- IronFox Farms has two main goals, Dan EisenVos said. One is providing food to local children and community members, and two is to create a small urban farm model that can be replicated in other areas.
- The couple has also planted trees, set up compost and plans to add a section of native wildflowers to create a monarch sanctuary on the land. Their hoping someday it could also be a neighborhood gathering place for events or even a farmer's market.
- The partnership also helps Eugene Field meet its goal of teaching "Nature Smarts" as part of its curriculum, Principal Dustin Mees said.
"The possibilities seem endless for how it can impact our students, but also the greater school community as well," Mees said.
What does the school partnership look like?
IronFox Farms is working with third and fourth graders at Eugene Field.
Dan and Megan EisenVos have some sessions in the classroom, where they're teaching kids how to map out a garden plot on graph paper and how to read a seed packet.
They're also inviting students to plant their own gardens, which the couple hopes students and their parents will continue to visit and help tend throughout the summer.
In the fall, they hope to be able to share the fruits of the harvest with the school, too, whether as part of school lunches or snacks or in lessons about preserving produce.
How to get involved
The couple is looking to partner with people who have expertise in agriculture. They're also working to create a volunteer sign-up.
You can also follow their progress on Instagram.