On Monday, October 19, St. Catharine College (SCC), Kentucky, hosted nearly 70 people from the community and college for a ceremony to bless and christen its new educational site for the Berry Farming Program (BFP): Homeplace Farm.The event featured a ceremony in which Sr. Mary Brigid Gregory and Jonah Hays Lucas (son of BFP professor Dr. Shawn Lucas) combined and scattered on the ground soils from the five Dominican Sisters of Peace farms and ecological education centers:
- Heartland Farm (Pawnee Rock, KS)
- Crystal Springs Earth Learning Center (Plainville, MA)
- Crown Point Ecology Center (Bath, OH)
- Shepherd’s Corner Farm and Ecology Center (Blacklick, OH)
- St. Catharine Farm (St. Catharine, KY).
BFP students Hannah Spaulding and Sathya Govindasamy combined and sprinkled water from the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France and water from Cartwright Creek, which flows through the St. Catharine Farm. Additionally, New York State farmer and writer Kristin Kimball read the poem “A Vision” by Wendell Berry. Kimball was visiting SCC to speak about her memoir The Dirty Life, which was the common reader for SCC freshmen. Springfield resident Elaine Simms and the SCC Fine Arts Committee hosted a beautiful reception after the ceremony.
This event was part of the week-long celebration of the inauguration of St. Catharine College President, Dr. Cindy Gnadinger, whose installation took place in St. Catharine Hall on Friday, October 23. Event organizers Sr. Mary Louise Edwards, Berry Farming Program Coordinator Dr. Leah Bayens, and SCC Compliance Director Jared Burton express their gratitude to Sr. Terry Wasinger and St. Catharine Farm Manager Danny Ray Spalding for collecting soil and water samples. They are equally grateful to the St. Catharine Motherhouse for providing dinner after the ceremony for Kimball and representatives from The Berry Center: Mary Berry, Katie Ellis, and Mary Jane Yates.
The Berry Farming Program (BFP) offers undergraduate degrees in sustainable agriculture and local food systems development. The curriculum is grounded in the lifework of Kentucky farmer and writer Wendell Berry. The campus farm serves as a hands-on training and research facility for SCC students and the community.