FOOD. FAITH. FUTURE.
Welcome to Michaela Farm! The farm derives its name from Sister Michaela Lindemann, one of the first women to join the new congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis in 1851, who began directing the work on the then newly acquired land in 1854.
Merging agriculture, education and spirituality, Michaela Farm builds on and enfleshes the Franciscan value of “just relationships with all Creation.” This value is core to our attitudes toward Earth and is a source of inspiration and motivation for our work. We express this value by these actions:
- Simple living
- Seeing all (creation) as “kin”
- Respectful use of resources
- Striving for sustainability
- Gratitude, hospitality and sharing
Michaela Farm is located among the rolling hills of Southeastern Indiana. See more on our Directions page.
NEWS FROM MICHAELA FARM
S. Peg Maher
It’s a bit dreary today with a little rain falling, which is a good reminder that fall is with us, at least according to the calendar. A little rain and cool weather will usher in some of those beautiful fall days that bring the leaves into their bright colors and our gardens into the cool weather crops of lettuce, spinach, multicolored peppers and the colorful squashes. The gardeners are busy putting out the cool weather crops and harvesting what has already ripened. Herbs are being dried and nuts are being gathered for winter. The areas used for summer crops are being cleaned up and cover crop is being sown. Our gardeners are always busy.
October is also the end of our spring/summer CSA. Our last pick up days are October 2 and 5. We had 36 members this year and we were pleased. Our members had a few surprises in their shares such as edible nasturtiums in their salad mix, red, yellow, orange, green, purple and ivory mixed peppers, persimmons and pawpaws, and Napa cabbage plus the ordinary weekly veggies. Some of the Motherhouse residents came down each week to help check people in as they came to pick up their shares and also to pass out the recipes that go with the shares. We are so happy to have the Sisters come down to help and the people picking up their shares like to chat with them. A big thank you to all of the Sisters who help to make the CSA a great experience for so many people! Because of the late start of the spring/summer CSA we will not be having a fall CSA this year. Hopefully next spring will be a little warmer and drier and we can start planting and harvesting sooner.
You may recall that Michaela Farm has about 67 acres in Indiana Classified Forest. This is a program that is designed to protect the forested areas of the state and to help protect and preserve wildlife in the area. In the early spring we had the annual visit from the forester who helps us maintain the forested areas of the farm. At that time he suggested that we needed to do a selective cut of some of the trees in the forest program. The reason for this is to thin the trees in order to improve tree health and improve the growth rate of the other trees. When trees are overcrowded in an area they are all competing for the same water, minerals and sunlight. This pulls a lot of water and minerals from the ground and can stress the water and minerals available in the area. A heavy tree canopy can block sunlight from the shorter and usually younger trees and stunt or stop their growth. Based on the recommendation of the forester and with the approval of the Council, we are having a selective cut take place before winter. We contacted a licensed forest consultant to come in and study the area and then make recommendations on which trees should be removed. Daniel Wilds, our farm manager, went with the consultant and helped assess the trees. Dan’s experience in working in the national forests made him the ideal choice for this. The cut is considered a light cut, with about four trees per acre being taken. The forest consultant has marked the trees and will be present when the logging company comes in to take down the trees in order to be sure that only the agreed upon trees are taken. With the forest areas opened up a bit, the trees will grow better and be able to better provide shelter for wildlife. The farm will be able to use the revenue from the sale of the trees to do some needed renovations and some delayed maintenance on the buildings and grounds. We have also applied for a grant through the Franklin County Farm Service Agency to help reseed the areas where trees were taken so that new growth can continue into the future. At this time we do not know if we have gotten the grant but we are hopeful. If we should get the grant, we will let you know.
Should anyone ask, our farm store is and will remain open as long as we have produce and eggs. At this point we have both. As we move deeper into the autumn of the year, we ask for your prayers for our continued success in what we are doing at the farm. A blessed and happy autumn season to all.