Where The Sky Began

Songwood is an 8+ acre natural farm located on what was once the Illinois Tallgrass Prairie.

Illinois lies within an area called the "prairie peninsula", an eastward extension of prairies that borders deciduous forests to the north, east, and south. This part of the tallgrass prairie region is sometimes called the true prairie.

Although the vegetation in a prairie can sometimes reach heights of 10 feet or more, most of the living material in a prairie ecosystem is actually below ground in roots, microbes, insects, and other burrowing animals.

The activities of these organisms, over the millennia, created the deep, rich topsoil of Illinois and the broader Midwest.

The natural landscape of Illinois is divided into 23 prairie types which are the result of variations in soil moisture, topography, soil composition, geological substrate, glacial history, and the distribution of plants and animals.

Songwood is located on what was once the Grand Prairie, or black soil prairie, characterized by dark‐colored, fertile soils.

In its prime, the black soil prairie was a veritable wildflower garden containing several hundred species of grasses and forbs including clovers, sunflowers, coneflowers, daisies, goldenrod, and milkweed. Grasses included big bluestem, little bluestem, and Indian grass - among many others. Browsing animals such as bison, elk, and deer consumed much of the above ground biomass each year.

Once the fertility of the soil was discovered, the black soil prairie practically disappeared in a span of 50 years, converted to industrialized monocultures of corn and soybeans.

Pristine tallgrass prairie is now the rarest of North America's major biomes. Today, less than one-hundredth of one percent of true tallgrass prairie remains in Illinois.

At Songwood, we are dedicated to honoring the diverse and fertile history of the land upon which our farm now sits, as well as the grasslanders who came before us. Thank you for being a part of our story.