The offices of the Americana Foundation are located on Tollgate Farm, a 160-acre historic farmstead in Novi, Michigan, originally owned by the Foundation’s founders, Adolph H. and Ginger Meyer. The Meyers first saw the farm during a visit to Novi in 1951 and were impressed by the natural beauty of the area and the scenic topography. They purchased it shortly thereafter as an expression of their interest in honoring America’s agrarian traditions, out of concern about the vanishing agricultural landscape beyond the Detroit suburbs, and to create a home for Mr. Meyer’s prize-winning German shepherds. For years, the farm produced vegetables, dairy products, corn, oats, and hay and, at various times, housed chickens, horses, hogs, and cows.

The Meyers donated 60 acres of the farmstead to Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) in 1979 with the proviso that the farm be used for public agricultural education. The rest of the farmstead is still owned by the Foundation and is leased to MSUE for community gardening, hay fields, and other uses. Educational programming at Tollgate Farm includes workshops, lectures, summer camps, field trips, and hands-on learning to teach the community about vegetable and flower gardening, food production, nature, environmental protection, water quality, and other important topics. Community programs celebrate maple sugaring and the fall harvest. The farm features fields, gardens, farm animals, rolling hills, woodlands, and a pond, offering a unique opportunity to experience agriculture in a suburban environment.

Summer camper harvesting tomatoes at MSU Tollgate Farm. Photo Credit: Roy Prentice
Goat Community at MSU Tollgate Farm. Photo Credit: Roy Prentice

Empowering Agricultural and Educational Programs

Since 1997, the Foundation has awarded more than $2.5 million in grants to MSU to help maintain the facilities at Tollgate Farm and to support MSUE’s agricultural and educational programming. Among other things, these contributions have supported the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, youth programming on agricultural and environmental issues, and specialized staff positions needed for maintenance and education. The Foundation also funded the restoration of the homestead and other historic farm buildings on the property and has contributed to major improvement projects that enhance the natural and manmade features at the site.

Thomas Ranger Memorial Fund

In 2018, Americana created the Thomas Ranger Memorial Fund to honor long time trustee Thomas Ranger. Tom was an accountant and close advisor to Adolph Meyer, one of Americana's founders, and served on Americana's Board of Trustees for 55 years. Tom was passionate about the preservation of American agriculture and the use of Tollgate Farm for hands-on learning for children, families and adults.

MSU Extension uses grants from the Thomas Ranger Memorial Fund for scholarships and to reimburse transportation costs for students in underserved communities that come to MSU Tollgate Farm for field trips and camps.

Sunrise over the pumpkin patch at MSU Tollgate Farm. Photo Credit: Roy Prentice

Learn More About Tollgate Farm

For more information about Tollgate Farm, including visiting details, programs, and events, we invite you to explore the official Tollgate Farm website:

Children's Garden at MSU Tollgate Farm, water feature. Photo Credit: Roy Prentice

Tollgate Farm and Education Center

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