New farms rooted in CALS experience

Now Media Group


The University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) helps produce alumni who are inspired to be a part of the agricultural system.

As they strive to find their place, some end up founding their own farms to reach their goals. Below are three examples of Wisconsin farms founded or co-founded by young CALS alumni:

Grow Local

Grow Local has been producing mushrooms and salad greens at a facility in Neenah since 2011, and this year signed a lease to expand into a space in Milwaukee. Calvin Andersen, one of three co-owners, is a 2012 CALS graduate from the Department of Biological System Engineering. Farm website: For more information, contact:, 920-205-6112.

Nomad Farm

Nomad Farm is a small, sustainably-managed vegetable and livestock operation located near Dodgeville. It was founded this past winter by a group of students and recent graduates from a wide variety of majors, including from CALS and non-CALS programs such as art. CALS co-founders include three spring 2016 graduates: Bradley Meilinger, BS'16 environmental sciences; Nina Comiskey, BS'16 horticulture and environmental studies; and Maia Persche, BS'16 wildlife ecology. Farm website: For more information contact:, 608-509-4682.

Raleigh's Hillside Farm

Raleigh's Hillside Farm, founded in 2012, is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) vegetable farm located in Magnolia Township. It is owned and operated by Kyle and Lauren Rudersdorf, who met while undergraduates at CALS, fell in love, got married and started the farm. At CALS, Kyle BS'11 studied soil science and Lauren BS'12 studied rural sociology (now: community and environmental sociology). Farm website: Lauren Rudersdorf's food blog, where she chronicles life on the farm and shares recipes: For more information, contact: