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The Pepperfield Project was a Non-Profit Organization located in Decorah, IA, established to promote the health and development of body, mind, and spirit through food and gardening in harmony with nature. The Pepperfield Farm served as a living example of wellness, including an environmentally sensitive lifestyle and its symbiotic relationship with the surrounding community and natural ecosystems. It also provided an education and retreat center focused on wellness and the teaching of intelligent choices that support sustainable systems.

The Pepperfield Project was 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 collaborated with other educational organizations, served the community through outreach programs, and made available its commercial kitchen for use by others working to enhance local food security.

Before moving to Iowa, David Cavagnaro, Pepperfield founder and President, had 30 years of gardening experience in California and became widely known as a teacher, author, and photographer in fields of natural history. Moving to Iowa with his family in 1987, David became the first manager of the preservation gardens at the Seed Savers Exchange, renewing seeds during the next eight years of Heritage Farm’s 15,000 heirloom vegetable varieties. Photographing that wealth of genetic diversity as well as his own extensive gardens and those of others in the region resulted in David’s photos appearing widely in horticultural books, calendars, and magazines. A life-long interest in food, gardening, and teaching led to the establishment of the Pepperfield Project and the donation of David’s home, gardens, and 55 acres of the farm as an education center.

Starting in spring 2022, the former home of The Pepperfield Project was transitioned to a new board and leadership, and David has retired to his house in the town of Decorah to concentrate on his writing and other pursuits. He can still be reached at and has published a new memoire, Living Art as Life and Life as Art. Please email if you are interested in purchasing.

The non-profit farm space is now maintained and run by the team at ReRooted Connections, with a reinvigorated mission. To learn more about the current mission, vision, events, and opportunies, please visit