Mingle with Nature at Minglewood Farm & Nature Preserve
Field trip opportunities for the young – and young at heart – are available year-round at Minglewood Farm & Nature Preserve in Surry County.
Minglewood is a 65-acre experiential learning facility focused on sustainable food production and environmental stewardship. Its mission is to lure people away from the digital world via curriculum-based field trips, classroom programs, workshops and events.
Owners Margie and Bill Imus are now in their fourth year of operating Minglewood as a nonprofit. They purchased the former tobacco farm in the late 1980s, rehabbed the land by adding organic matter to the depleted soil, and began farming full-time. But their goal from day one was to develop a higher use for the farm as a teaching tool and nature preserve.
“We give people an opportunity to go out and experience nature,” Margie Imus says. “There is a lot to learn here.”
Wooded areas with meandering trails make up the majority of Minglewood’s acreage. The Imuses farm seven to eight acres, including space for greenhouses and woody ornamentals. An environmental educator joined the staff in late July to align student visits with the curriculums for Surry, Stokes and Forsyth county schools.
“Last year we had some homeschoolers here,” Margie says, “and a group of boys were going up the creek ahead of us. They turned around to me, and said, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s the biggest bird up here!’ When they turned back around, a heron with a five- to six-foot wingspan flew off. They’ll remember that the rest of their lives.”
In addition to school field trips, the farm welcomes groups of adults, such as garden clubs, retirement groups, church groups and photo clubs. All visits are by appointment only, and scheduled events require advance registration.
Minglewood’s events include workshops for adults and children, as well as on-farm suppers on select Saturdays and Sundays. For the suppers, a guest chef prepares a four-course meal, which is served outdoors on the farm. Minglewood supplies most of the produce, and other local farms provide meats and dairy products.
“There’s a big disconnect with the natural world, and we have a wonderful place where we can share that world with others,” Margie says.