The farm is one of the many ministries of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ at the Center at Donaldson. Sister Sue Rogers says the farm started out as a way to keep the Donaldson campus self-sufficient, “For many years, its purpose was to raise beef for use on this campus, so I think the cows that were not necessary for the cafeterias here probably went to auction, but we don’t do that anymore.”
Instead, they decided they could benefit the local community by making that beef available to the public. This is being done through Earthworks, another ministry on the Donaldson campus. Sister Sue is the director. “Earthworks is an environmental education center, and we teach all aspects of sustainability,” she says. “We work with adults and children. We have a summer camp. It’s eight weeks of camp for children with a strongly environmental theme. As part of our ministry, we have this market in Plymouth.”
She says that market sells only “clean food,” “It’s an educational market in the sense that everything we sell in there is food that is prepared or sold without any additives.”
In addition to that, Sister Sue says the market hosts a variety of classes for both children and adults to teach them how to prepare meals using cleaner foods. “That has a direct impact both on the health of the person – primarily the health of the person, but it also has a good impact on the health of the land that the food comes from,” she says. “If you don’t contaminate the food while it’s growing, it’s not going to contaminate you when you eat it.”
She says both Earthworks and the Ancilla Beef & Grain Farm tie into the Center at Donaldson’s overall mission of service to the local community. In these particular cases, Sister Sue says they do this by helping people take care of the planet where they live, “The health of the Earth and our behavior with respect to the Earth is kind of the platform on which we make a lot of decisions. We, I think, often forget that we’re connected to every single other element in our universe, and that requires a certain amount of responsibility on our part.”
For now, Earthworks and the Ancilla Beef & Grain Farm have three cows for sale in quarters or halves on a first come, first served basis. Sister Sue says this is the last opportunity to buy beef from the farm until the end of March, except for ground beef, which remains available at the Earthworks Market in Plymouth. She says the also plan to resume selling cuts of beef in the future.
For more information, contact Earthworks at 574-935-4164.