Loretto Motherhouse Farm Promotes Sustainability, Care for Earth
The Loretto Land Ethic affirms that “those responsible for land at any particular time should regard it as a sacred trust, received with gratitude, tended with care for its integrity and long-term sustainability.” In keeping with the Loretto Land Ethic, the Loretto Motherhouse Farm strives to promote sustainability and care for Earth in every aspect of the farm’s work.
Loretto Motherhouse Farm is situated within the 789-acre Loretto Motherhouse property in Nerinx, Ky. Its operations are guided by Loretto’s desire to live in responsible relationship with the land and with all life. Among the many conservation practices now entwined into its daily operations are intensive cover cropping, planting crops without tilling the soil and intensive, rotational grazing. As another strong commitment to conservation, 75 acres of land on the Loretto Motherhouse Farm are enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program planted in hardwood trees, pollinator habitat and native grasses. The 300 acres of woods also are managed as part of the Forest Stand Improvement Program.
Serving as an advisory group for Loretto Motherhouse Farm is the Farm and Land Management Committee, which includes several Sisters and Co-Members of Loretto in addition to the Motherhouse Service Coordinator. This committee helps drive the overall vision of the farm, while also working as a bridge between the Loretto Community and the farm’s work.
Overseeing the farm’s day-to-day operation is Loretto Motherhouse Director of Farm and Land Development Cody Rakes. Cody is assisted by Trent Farmer, who couldn’t have a more perfect last name for the job! Angela Rakes, Cody’s wife, takes care of the farm marketing and education work among her other duties as Education and Outreach Coordinator for Loretto Motherhouse.
Cody, Angela and Trent all have a passion for the land and caring for the Earth through responsible farming practices. They also play key roles in farm education, with Loretto Motherhouse Farm serving as the focal point for illustrating best practices of sustainability and care for the Earth. Educational programming is continuing during the coronavirus pandemic, though visitors are restricted. This past month, for example, Cody and Angela worked with local agriculture education classes, a professor at the University of Illinois, the local Head Start and a group from the University of Kentucky to create and share educational content with their students. Loretto Motherhouse Farm looks forward to a time where education can continue with on-farm events, including school groups and farmer field days.
When Loretto Motherhouse Farm does re-open to visitors, it’s a sure bet that Rascal the farm dog (and everyone’s favorite pet!) will be happy to greet all. In the meantime, you can catch Rascal on the farm’s Facebook page. The 9-year-old Border Collie runs the page, where he treats viewers to the latest about all the great work that’s being done down at Loretto Motherhouse Farm.