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Page history last edited by Randel Hanson 9 years ago

The UMD Farm

This Page is about the farm in Duluth, MN


The UMD Farm is located in Duluth, MN and is owned and operated by the University of Minnesota Duluth. The farm is currently being used for research, educational, storage, and facilities management purposes. Additional information can be found on the Social Media page.

apple trees

[1]View of the Apple Orchard


Location and History


The UMD Farm homestead is located at 4907 Jean Duluth Road, in Rice Lake Township, St. Louis County, approximately 4 miles from the UMD campus.  (See Google Map below.)  The UMD Farm consists of ca. 110 acres remaining from an original 240 acres, with Amity Creek bordering the south of the property.


The UMD Farm has its beginnings in 1912 as one of six University of Minnesota Agricultural Experimental Stations across Minnesota, administration of which was headquartered on the University's St. Paul campus.  The Northeast Experimental Station remained active in applied agricultural research, education and technology transfer through 1966, and some activities continued into the mid 1970s. (See early histories of farm in Resources section.)As such, it was an important piece of the agricultural infrastructure of Minnesota in general and the Lake Superior bioregion specifically across generations.   For more information on the remaining five experiemental stations in Minnesota, see the following website:  http://www.maes.umn.edu/


As the focus on 'productivist' conventional agriculture intensified within the US  and land grant universities, the 'red drift' region in which the UMD  farm lies was deemed superfluous to this project and was closed in 1976.  The administration and ownership of the farm was devolved to the University of Minnesota, Duluth. 


The 'homestead' buildings are now used for storage and most of the remaining lands have been left fallow. Currently, the UMD Biology Department uses parts of the homestead area for scientific research and education activities, and the UMD Building and Maintenance use areas of the property for storage.  A 'master plan' for the UMD  farm is currently underway, which will inform and guide uses of the farm in the future.




The Sustainable Agriculture Project at the University of Minnesota Duluth (SAP@UMD)  was awarded stewardship of the 'North 10 Acres' on Riley Road and the five acre 'Old South Orchard' on Jean Duluth Road.  In 2011 SAP  is partnering with the UMD Dining Services and student interns to create a student-run vegetable garden.   Our goals in carrying out this project are twofold: to provide experiential education to students in small scale sustainable agriculture; and to partner with the UMD Dining Services as they re-skill themselves in using minimally processed produce as a step toward increasing purchases from area producers.  Through collaboration between students, faculty, staff and area farmers, we are exploring how we can shift the food system of UMD toward a more sustainable future. 


Our ‘social enterprise garden’ is part of a series of activities associated with the Sustainable Agriculture Project at the University of Minnesota, Duluth (SAP@UMD).  SAP formed in 2009 to institute education, research, and community engagement around local food systems and food security at UMD and in the western Lake Superior region. SAP@UMD is an interdisciplinary faculty collaborative that provides overall leadership and is housed in the Center for Sustainable Community Development. SAP@UMD was awarded stewardship over fifteen acres at UMD's Research and Field Studies Center (formerly the Northeast Agricultural Experimental Station), including a five acre heritage apple orchard and a ten acre field, for which we use as an experiential learning and research site; we also utilize the extensive 20th century agriculture archives of the region housed in UMD's Northeast Minnesota Historical Center for faculty research and student teaching.  The present garden is the result of two years of activities by a number of people that included gaining stewardship over the land, creating a multi year development plan, securing grants, partnering with area farmers for advice and materials, creating a working partnership with UMD Dining Services, and infrastructure planning and development.  


Faculty and Staff Supporters: 

Randel Hanson, Geography, UMD

Cindy Hale, NRRI, UMD

David Syring, Anthropology, UMD

Pat Farrell, Geography, UMD

Stacy Stark, GIS Lab, UMD


2011 SAP@UMD Student Inters: 

Justin Gramenz

Lanae Smith

Brian Downing

Christoper Hinnenkamp

Tim Isakson

Dennis Nordine

Tara Coberly-Horrall

Erica Hoagland

Aleshia Wiggs

Hanna Fleming


Further Information about the Sustainable Agriculture Project, email Randel Hanson at rhanson2@d.umn.edu


UMD Farm/SAP@UMD Resources 

Designing Sustainable Agriculture Education

Library Archival Materials - UMD Farm

First 25 Years of NE Station

First 40 Years of NE Experimental Farm


85 Years of Farming in NE MN, NW WI, & UP - 1959 Study.pdf

NEMHC S3065f6 Commercial Club 1912 Home Products Dinner.pdf


External Links

  • Google Map of the UMD Farm (here)
  • More Images of the Farm (here)
  • University of Minnesota Student Farm - Corncopia (here)
  • St. Olaf Student Farm - STOGROW (here)
  • UMD Office of Sustainability (here)
  • Adding Up to Zero - UMD Sustainability Blog (here)
  • UMD Office of Civic Engagement (here)
  • UMD Facilities Management (here)
  • UMD Center for Sustainable Community Development - SDROP Project (here)
  • Duluth Community Garden Program (here)
  • Sustainable Twin Ports (here)



  1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/umd_farm/

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