Sustainable Agriculture Field Trip Opportunity on March 12 in Schaumburg: the Volkening Heritage Farm

Ever wondered what it was like to work on an Illinois farm in the late 19th century, before there were tractors, electricity, and chemical fertilizers/pesticides? Now’s your chance!

IMG_0618On Tuesday, March 12th, students from Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 210 Sustainable Future class will have a get-your-hands-dirty experiential learning opportunity at one of the NW suburbs’ most significant agricultural sites: the Volkening Heritage Farm at Spring Valley in Schaumburg.

Along with a cadre of community volunteers, the farm’s staff wears period clothing and manages the farm using 19th century technology, including horsepower for plowing and harvesting. The farm’s interpretive staff will lead us through a succession of old-timey farm chores as a way to contemplate sustainable agricultural practices within a historical context. Well finish up by cooking a traditional early spring meal in the farmhouse.  According to our Patty Kennedy, the Heritage Farm Program Coordinator, “The meal [will] be very sustainable and historically accurate using what is left in the root cellar after a long winter.  Everything will be hands on and hopefully give you something good to talk about in regards to sustainability — both historically and in today’s terms.”

IMG_0623This exciting field trip will be a first for SUST students, and is open to members of the RU community who’d like to join us. Just remember to dress for the weather on this trip, wear your rubber boots, and be ready to get a little muddy! All participants will need to fill out an RU travel waiver form, available here as a pdf, and bring it with you when you arrive.


  • When:  Tuesday, March 12, 2013, from 3-5pm
  • Where:  Volkening Heritage Farm, Schaumburg IL (see directions below)
  • RSVP and questions:  Email Mike Bryson at or call 847-619-8735

Participants may get to the farm two ways:

  1. Carpool to the site from RU’s Schaumburg Campus with Prof. Bryson and his 210 students (please meet at the Information Desk by the front entrance by 2:30pm sharp).
  2. Drive to the farm directly and meet up at the main farmhouse a few minutes before 3pm. Volkening Heritage Farm is located at 201 S. Plum Grove Road in Schaumburg, about a 10-15min drive from RU’s campus. Heading south on Plum Grove Road, you will turn left into Spring Valley’s Heritage Farm entrance just a bit south of Schaumburg Rd. Park in the lot and follow the short path through the woods to the farm.

This trip is generously supported by funding from the RU Schaumburg Campus Provost’s Office.


About Suburban Sustainability

Founder and editor of the Schaumburg's Sustainability Future social media project (est. Earth Day, 2011)
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