Villa farm reaches out in Lawrence County
Food banks, shelters benefit from produce
Villa Maria Farm sits on 300 acres of the 726 acres in Lawrence County owned by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary.
The farm, located near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border, includes eight acres of naturally grown produce gardens.
Another 400 acres remain as a sustainably managed forest and wetlands and includes 40 acres designated as an Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary.
As a ministry of the sisters, the farm is committed to donating half of its produce to area food banks and shelters.
The farm operates a year-round greenhouse where all produce starts are started as well as seasonal flowers, including bedding plants, hanging baskets, fall mums, poinsettias and Easter flowers.
The farm also has a small herd of cattle and flock of sheep.
It is in the third year of a Community Supported Agriculture program, which involves individuals pledging support to a farm and where the farmers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production.
For the sisters, the program means that the farm commits to providing area residents with fresh, seasonal, organically grown produce, flowers and herbs, while the residents provide the farm with support so that it can continue farming in an environmentally sustainable way.
Participants share in an 18-week growing season, from on or around June 13-Oct. 13, weather permitting.
Selections and quantities vary during the growing season, with a wide variety of naturally grown produce included in each share. Optional shares of fresh cut flower and herbs or culinary flowers will also be available.
Share pick-up days at Villa Maria Farm are Wednesdays from noon-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
For information, contact John Moreira, director of land management, at 724-964-8920, ext. 3385, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted from Pittsburgh Catholic Magazine, Healthy Spirit, Mind & Body issue.