Motherhouse Farm guided by Loretto’s desire to live in responsible relationship with the land and with all life
We seek to live humbly on land made good by its Creator. We accept the privilege to live in responsible relationship with the land and with all of life. We commit ourselves to being shaped by the beauty and harmony of God’s Universe.
Three goals guide the work of the Motherhouse through its Farm and Land Committee: to protect undisturbed spaces, to regenerate degraded spaces, and to mitigate and reduce carbon emissions.
The Loretto Motherhouse Farm and Land have had a clear focus on conservation for many years. Many of the conservation practices are intertwined with the daily operations of the farm—such as rotationally grazing cattle, and planting crops without tilling the soil. More obvious conservation practices include our 75 acres of land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, planted in Native Warm Season Grasses, native wildflowers, and hardwood trees. Through the Forest Stand Improvement program we are actively evaluating the composition and health of our woodlands, making corrections as needed. Still another is growing cover crops on our grain fields during the winter months between harvesting and planting again. Learn more here!
Education of ourselves and others has been and is becoming more of a focus of our work on the farm. In 2018 the farm had over 1100 “students” ranging from the 40 Head Start students in nearby Loretto, to the 65 local farmers who came to learn about rotationally grazing their cattle, to middle and high school students from near and far 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 which has had posts reach over 30,000 people, and a faithful following of about 1500.
We value exploring new possibilities, innovation and creativity. With limited resources, time, and the individual character of each farm, farmers across the world are constantly innovating. We do our own share of innovation as well by solving problems on the farm in as simple a way as possible. From repurposing industrial tires into water tanks, to utilizing lake water to keep these tanks filled instead of municipally treated water, innovation is an important component of the farm. It can really add up too; by using the lake water instead of municipally treated water, over 1,000,000 gallons of water per year are diverted just for our cattle, at a direct savings of over $6,000! Read about these examples in more detail here.
The Motherhouse land cultivates life in many and varied ways. It cultivates life in the human spirit through hiking trails, retreat spaces and the natural beauty of Creation. We seek to manage the land in a way that supports its capacity to cultivate diversity through habitat restoration, raising bees and pollinator plantings. As we nourish the land, the land nourishes us in turn with grass-fed and finished beef, non-GMO corn and soybeans, and forages for grazing and hay. The beef that is raised here eventually makes its way to a small family owned slaughterhouse in Liberty, KY before the meat comes back to our kitchen where it is prepared for all the residents of the Motherhouse and the Infirmary. Learn more here!