Homestead 1839

West Burlington, Iowa, United States

There are 180 years of family history and tradition at the Homestead 1839, and even in today’s modern world, old-fashioned values are at the heart of everything the farm does. The land belongs to the Leffler family, ancestors of current farm co-director, Mollie Krell. While the property has reduced from about 80 acres to 30, the Homestead is still a big part of the community.

Organic fruits, vegetables, and flowers grow on five acres of active farmland with a focus on permaculture practices. Common crops like cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash, and many lesser-known heirloom varieties like okra, tomatillos, and edible flowers are planted and cared for by hand, reducing the need for fossil fuels. Toxic chemicals are never used on the property, and crop rotation and companion planting help make sure it stays that way. Chickens fertilize the soil and eat the bugs interested in the various crops. Bees are also encouraged to make their home in the apiary on the farm. Nearly 14 acres of the original property have transitioned to a pollinator habitat through the Conservation Reserve Program, which falls in line beautifully with the Homestead’s all-natural approach. Organic cut flowers also help attract pollinators and serve as a source of income for the farm to support produce that feeds the community.

The Homestead 1839 believes people shouldn’t have to make a lot of money to access organic, nutritious food. It donates much of what it grows to food banks and community referrals. For those who can afford it, produce is available for purchase through roadside and local farmers’ markets. The farm also gives back through various community, educational, and probational programs, helping those in need and others interested in self-sustainability and creating a healthy planet. Volunteers are at the heart of all operations, and gardeners of all skill levels and abilities are always welcome.

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.