July 18, 2013
Shawn Murray has already been affiliated with Michael Fields for several years. She first enrolled in the Garden Student Program in 2008, then under the management of Janet Gamble, and began learning the necessary skills to become an organic and biodynamic farmer-gardener. From 2009 through 2011, Shawn assisted in the management of Stella Gardens, the beautiful, 2+ acre growing space located behind the main building at Michael Fields, and helped run an on-site farm stand and vegetable CSA (community-supported-agriculture). Late 2011, Shawn took on full management of Stella Gardens, including running an upcoming intern program for students interested in learning more about sustainable agriculture. This program focuses on intensive hands-on training that builds knowledge, confidence, and physical strength, while teaching about farming/gardening skills such as composting, soil fertility and management, hand-building raised beds, sowing, transplanting, cultivating, and harvesting. In 2012-2013, Shawn began installation of several fruit trees, shrubs, and vines that increases the number of perennial crops in the gardens with hopes for a more sustainable use of resources.
Shawn’s educational background includes a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she trained as an archaeologist, and Beginning Farmer Training through Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and through CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training). She also owns a small herd of dairy goats and spends her free time learning to make goats-milk cheeses and ice creams. 2014 begins a new venture for Shawn with Feral Farm where she and Casey Dahl hope to increase the diversity of local foods, the diversity of farming systems, and the diversity of habitat for wildlife.