The Farmers Behind the Food: Steve and Andrea Levsen, Stoney Meadow Farm

Written by Jamie Ferschinger
    Friday, 15 February 2013
The Farmers Behind the Food: Steve and Andrea Levsen, Stoney Meadow Farm

Steve Levsen, his wife Andrea and their three children are the family who founded and run Stoney Meadow Farm. Their organically-grown produce flourishes on more than 10 acres. With a combined 50+ years of farming experience, they grow a wonderful, carefully chosen variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs picked within hours of making their way into your kitchen. Some of the distinguishing features of Stoney Meadow include: 16 week peak season CSA Farm share program, extended season share option as well, accommodating members’ vacations, not using black plastic on their crops, focusing on education and nutrition, offering a weekly newsletter/blog, farm tour and picnic, and various payment options.

Steve was raised and worked on his family’s dairy farm near Stoney Meadow Farm until he went to graduate school. He also is a chemistry professor at a local university and calls himself “A Ph.D. organic chemist with an organic farm”-- a unique combination, which enhances the farm’s mission to provide the safest possible growing practices and educate our members. Because organic agriculture is deeply rooted in chemistry and ecology, Steve's background, knowledge and perspective greatly enhances his abilities as a farmer. 

Steve takes a scientific approach to managing his organic farm from the simple act of looking at the natural aspects of the plants and their interactions with their surroundings, to the analysis of the soil components or contaminants, to the effects of various chemically-based agriculture practices -- even some found in organically-based agriculture. By building on his knowledge, Stoney Meadow Farm's mission works to solve problems such as "hidden hunger", which is the decline in the nutritional value of the food we eat. The farm also utilizes his knowledge to look at the ecosystem of the farm. Rather than use chemicals to fix a problem, which is what conventional and some organic practices do, the farm is seen as nature in equilibrium, needing attention in some areas to promote the health of the farm overall. The perspective is rather analytical, experimental and scientific, however the farm's objective is concrete -- to grow safe and nutritious vegetables and fruits for its members.

“We are stewards of the land and work in harmony with it.  We focus on building healthy soil and take a scientific approach to work with the inherent nature of the plants to protect each other from disease and pests.   We also strive to provide habitat and nectar for the many beneficial insects and other wildlife, including birds, toads and frogs.  These life forms help manage any pests that may arise without resorting to chemicals,” said Steve and Andrea.

 This blog post was written by Theresa Lins. Theresa is a Milwaukee-based writer and Urban Ecology Center “groupie”.  She has been active in promoting the Center and its programs for over 14 years.  Other than eating farm-fresh food, her favorite thing is to write about it and the people who produce it.

2013 LFOH logoYou can meet these farmers and many others at the Local Farmer Open House on Saturday, March 8th at our Riverside Park branch. Meet and sign up with farmers, learn how you can join a CSA farm (purchase a share of the harvest) and get a box of fresh produce each week during the season. Join us for this free event!

Jamie Ferschinger

Jamie Ferschinger

With a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Communications and a Master's degree in Conservation Biology, Jamie brings a wealth of experiences and deep passion to her work at the Urban Ecology Center. As Branch Manager of the Riverside Park Branch, she helps to ensure that things are running smoothly and everybody is happy! Outside of work, Jamie enjoys running when the sun is coming up, spending time outside, cooking, listening to music and traveling to new places.


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