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Farm Education

Education of ourselves and others has been, and is becoming more of a focus of our work on the farm. The farm has hosted over 1000 “students” yearly who visit us to learn more about our practices and enjoy this beautiful land. This includes Loretto Head Start students, local farmers studying rotational cattle grazing or watering systems, and middle and high school students from near and far who are eager to see a working farm in action and learn how agriculture and conservation go hand-in-hand.

Of course, Cody’s faithful helper, Rascal, does his part by managing the Loretto Motherhouse Farm Facebook page.

Black and white dog peeks through long grasses
Rascal, the Farm sidekick and Facebook extraordinaire, poses in a field of cover crops.
Photo by Angela Rakes

Education of Ourselves

In order to further the farm’s efforts of educating others, we must educate ourselves. The Farm and Land Management Committee is passionate about staying up to date on current farm practices to help the farm and land thrive. 

Cody Rakes, Trent Farmer and Angela Rakes, the farm trio, all carry memberships in numerous agriculture and civic organizations. Vacations from the farm are usually spent at agriculture conferences learning from other farmers and leaders in the industry. That knowledge is put into practice at the Loretto Motherhouse Farm and then shared with others through numerous educational events.

Education of Others

Farmer Education

Bringing local farmers onto our land for field days with multiple agriculture specialists from the University of Kentucky and other organizations is one component of our educational efforts. The farm strives to host at least three of these events a year, gathering input from local farmers for the various topics presented. These events have continued to grow since their start in 2016. 

Cody currently serves as a Cooperating Farmer in a Mississippi River Basin Conservation program called “Farmer to Farmer.” This program seeks to help farmers innovate, adopt, and share information about conservation practices for their farming operations. It links farmers from the headwater of the Mississippi to the fishermen of the Gulf of Mexico and all in between to learn more about water quality and on-farm practices to improve our natural resources. This program has involved in-person field days, education and outreach to policy makers, and creation of a clearinghouse website for farmers to learn about and fine tune their conservation practices.

Masked cameraman and interviewer film the farmer from a COVID-safe distance in front of a livestock paddock and barn.
In 2020 when COVID-19 put a halt to in-person field days, the farm started doing virtual education. Here a group from the University of Kentucky Films at the farm.
Photo by Angela Rakes

Partnering with Local Schools

The farm has built strong relationships with local schools and students. Not only do we regularly host these students at the farm, but we also support their efforts by coming into their classrooms for specific topics, as requested. On-farm tours may involve discussions about anything from environmental science, genetics, general agriculture, soil health, to animal husbandry. 

Students gather and listen to man standing on a hayrack.
Students from a local Catholic School learn from Farmer Cody while visiting the farm.
Photo by Angela Rakes

Civic Groups and Other Visitors

The Loretto Motherhouse Farm takes pride in being part of a larger civic community. We open our doors to many local civic groups and those visiting the Motherhouse on retreat for farm tours and educational events as well. 

Group of people in blue shirts study cows grazing in the field.
A group from the local Chamber of Commerce visited the farm to talk regenerative agriculture and agriculture’s impact on the economy.
Photo by Angela Rakes.

Education and Outreach Coordinator

Angela Rakes is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Loretto Motherhouse. As part of her work, she collaborates with numerous groups to provide educational opportunities involving both the Loretto Motherhouse Farm and the Motherhouse campus as a whole. Contact Angela through the form below: