Historic Log Cabin

Decorah, Iowa

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Conceived in 2008 as an educational program, and a place, where people could experience good food and how to grow it, and where they could expand themselves personally among gardens surrounded by Iowa’s beautiful natural wilds.

Once Pepperfield was awarded official nonprofit status in 2010, co-founder David Cavagnaro was able to donate his home, gardens, a restored 1851 pioneer log cabin, and 55 acres of his farm as an education and retreat center.

In 2012, by means of a very generous grant from the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, the Pepperfield facilities were enhanced, rendering the farm more suitable as a teaching center. In addition to offering a wide range of classes, workshops, retreats, and events on the farm, Pepperfield also collaborates with other educational organizations, serves the community through outreach programs, and makes available its commercial kitchen for use by others working to enhance local food security. We also provide a space for small intimate weddings and concerts.

The former home of founder David Cavagnaro serves as Pepperfield’s education and retreat center, including meeting space, ample indoor and outdoor dining areas, workspace in support of the farm, and limited overnight accommodations. Food is prepared in a certified kitchen which also may be rented for community needs.

A historically accurate restored pioneer log cabin, built by the Business family in 1851, serves as staff housing. The first Lutheran congregation in the area, Washington Prairie, was founded in this cabin on Christmas day, 1853, by Reverend Vilhelm Koren who later served as a founder of Luther College. The cabin is available by appointment for public visits.

The center is nestled among extensive ornamental and food-producing gardens used for education and widely published horticultural photography. The gardens provide beauty, solitude, and inspiration for all programs and activities at the center and demonstrate an ecological interface with surrounding nature. Food served at Pepperfield comes largely from these organic gardens and other organic growers in the immediate neighborhood.


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