Americana Foundation receives a 2021 Michigan State University Extension Key Partner Award

MSU Extension honored the Americana Foundation for their longtime partnership with the MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center at Fall Extension Conference held virtually on Sept. 28.

Michigan State University Extension awarded the Americana Foundation with a 2021 Key Partner Award on Sept. 28. The Key Partner Award recognizes those that have made significant contributions to support and promote MSU Extension programs.

The Americana Foundation was established by Adolph and Ginger Meyer who were passionate about land preservation, agricultural heritage, and community agricultural education. Americana supports the growth, development, and sustainability of agriculture and food systems, open space and natural resource conservation, natural resources protection, and nature-based and agricultural education in Michigan.

In 1987, the Americana Foundation partnered with MSU Extension and gifted MSU a portion of the Meyer’s 160-acre historic farmstead and financially supported its re-development as an agriculture and natural resources education center. MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center provides unique hands-on learning on a working farm in an urban setting. MSU Extension uses its expertise in community education, agriculture, and natural resources to lead programming efforts on the site. Over the course of this partnership, the foundation continues to generously support MSU Extension.

Americana has supported large portions of the general facilities upkeep at MSU Tollgate so that it remains a premier destination for agriculture and natural resource education. Additionally, the foundation has supported garden volunteers, Extension Master Gardeners, MSU Extension education staff, and many projects at MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center as well as supplying financial aid for those in need. This consistent support has made it possible for the farm to reach over 20,000 people on an annual basis and weather the COVID-19 pandemic. The foundation’s leadership and commitment to MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center has provided tens of thousands of people the opportunity to connect to agriculture.

Starting in 2019, Americana supported portions of two full-time positions and, during the pandemic, their support increased to a third full-time position. Without this support, much of the farm’s programming and operations would have been lost. Instead, Tollgate has become a leader in virtual programming, grown its agricultural operations, improved volunteer processes, and expanded its communications. Tollgate is poised to have a greater impact than ever before, thanks in part to the continued support of the Americana Foundation, which is truly an MSU Extension Key Partner.

 

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