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Urban farm aims to educate in Sioux Falls

IronFox Farm; "Fall Reflection"
IronFox Farm
IronFox Farm
IronFox Farm; "Fall Reflection"

Urban farming is a unique approach to utilizing green space in the city. A couple in Sioux Falls is attempting to inspire others through their educational urban farm.

IronFox Farm is an urban farm located in the middle of Sioux Falls. Megan Eisenbeis is a co-founder. She said its intent is to raise awareness of urban farming and to teach the next generation how to grow fresh produce.

Eisenbeis and co-founder Daniel Vos work with local A+ Elementary School, Eugene Field.

“We work specifically with third and fourth graders, and so there is about 140 students each year that we go to the classroom twice in the spring and then the students are able to come to the garden during school hours and they’ve planted the garden as a class,” said Eisenbeis.

Eisenbeis said the kids return the following school year as fourth and fifth graders to reap the benefits of their harvest.

While the farm is a community-based project, Eisenbeis said this year, IronFox farm has an order to fill to further support the community.

“We have an agreement with the Fair Market in Sioux Falls and with Augustana Garden, actually. So Augustana Garden and IronFox Farm are supplying fresh produce to the Fair Market locations,” said Eisenbeis.

According to Eisenbeis, Fair Market is unique. It allows EBT card users to purchase fresh produce which is sometimes not available at supermarkets.

Fair Market has two locations in Sioux Falls and partners with multiple organizations to provide reduced-price grocery items.

Eisenbeis said urban farms are not limited to purchasing vacant lots to grow fresh produce.

“A food forest is a common thing in other cities, and I think is something that is starting to happen more in Sioux Falls," said Eisenbeis. Where along walking paths or the bike path maybe, you have perennial plants and native food-producing plants that are open to the community that people can come and take. I see that as an urban ag.”  

With the high rate of construction throughout the city, Eisenbeis said it would be nice for more urban farms to break up the vast amounts of buildings throughout the city.

To expand their operation and adequately protect the farm from the harsh South Dakota weather, Eisenbeis said the next step for their farm is to gain permission from the city to develop an urban ag shelter.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.