Thanks to a bonding bill passed this spring, the Oliver H. Kelley Farm is gearing up to expand! This National Historic Landmark and Minnesota jewel is ready to serve more schoolchildren and tourists by sharing the story of Minnesota's farm-to-table agriculture and its role in today’s global economy.
The project includes expanded educational programs supported by an improved visitor center and new farm buildings. The plan will:
- Increase the size of the visitor center, bringing visitor amenities up to current standards.
- Develop interactive, changing exhibits and expand public program space.
- Create engaging classrooms.
- Add videoconferencing and internet access so the farm’s programs can reach schools throughout the metro area and Greater Minnesota.
- Create a guest animal shelter for visiting animals from program partners where visitors can interact with and learn more about today’s farm animals.
- Build a four-season shelter for school group lunches, additional programming and community rental space.
- Create a teaching kitchen for demonstrations and workshops regarding cooking, food preservation and healthy eating.
- Expand and modernize the restrooms, including adding a family restroom.
- Expand staff support space and storage areas.
- Overhaul and increase maintenance support areas.
Construction is slated to begin in early 2015. A grand opening of the new visitor center and support buildings is planned for May 2016. The farm will remain open for school groups and family visitors throughout construction.