Saturday April 17, the family and I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Tryon Farm in Indiana. If you've never heard of Tryon Farm, it's a conservation community founded by Ed and Eve Noonan, longtime Chicagoland residents who have always dreamed of creating more affordable housing that respects the land and builds community.
The site of a former dairy farm, Tryon Farm is located about an hour from Chicago near Michigan City, Indiana. It consists of rolling meadow, dunes, a pond, a grove and woods. Three-quarters of the 170-acre landscape will always be preserved as rolling pasture, meadows, woods and ponds, according to its founders. The variety of homes range in size from 400 to 3,500 square feet, each settlement taking advantage of the landscape in its unique design. The homes range from $188,800 to $478,800.
I jumped at the chance to see Tryon Farm in person after reading so many good things about it and having a recent conversation with Ed and Eve. We volunteered to help plant several trees being planned as a wind break. While we've gardened as a family, planted a shrub and several flowers and vegetable seeds (with some limited success on the vegetables due to our deeply shaded yard) we've never planted a young tree before.
After lunch in the barn, we took the tractor ride to the flower filled field to plant dogwood trees and conifers. The kids were amazed at how different the soil looked and felt compared to our own backyard. The children met two very friendly resident dogs, the first of which was a little black pug named Miles, who sat patiently, observing the volunteers as they worked.
After much digging and planting, (dozens of trees were planted successfully by the group) we walked the grounds and stopped to check out the playground, community garden (which all residents may access) and the wooded path, where we met a second dog, Bailey, a friendly large poodle out for a walk with his owner. The open space must have felt like paradise to him. He was carefree and running around without his leash and bounded up to us hoping we'd throw his tennis ball for him.
We left for home knowing the trees would be much larger in a few short years and hoping to return soon to see their progress and remember our hand in helping them along.