Grinnell Heritage Farm
Andrew and Melissa Dunham are third generation farmers, whose family has been farming the same 80 acres in Iowa for the past 150 years! They are one of the largest CSA in Iowa, growing over 60 varieties of vegetable from asparagus to zucchini. More than half of their farm is pasture for their livestock. These areas are untilled and contain a number of flowering clovers that are attractive to bumble bees and provide extra nutrients to their cattle.
Along the farm borders the Dunhams have planted extensive native plant hedgerows that bloom successively throughout the year sustaining pollinators on their farm across seasons. Logs are strategically stacked between the woody shrubs providing nesting habitat for bees while supporting other wildlife including birds that contribute to pest control within their fields.
Two beetle banks- raised berms planted with native grasses and wildflowers- support bees while also creating a refuge for predacious ground beetles. These nighttime predators are voracious consumers of potato beetles- one of the major pests on the farm. Since installing the beetle banks, the Dunhams haven’t had to apply pesticides to control the potato beetles, dramatically reducing their overall pesticide applications. Because the farm is surrounded by conventional corn fields, the Dunhams planted a vegetative barrier designed to capture pesticide drift from neighboring farms.
All of these practices help ensure Grinnell Heritage farm is a refuge for pollinators. Pollinator conservation is a win-win scenario for the Dunhams, who also gain pest control services from their habitat plantings.
Grinnell Heritage Farm is applying for Bee Better Certification in summer 2017.