Ministry Spotlight-Villa Maria Farm
Villa Maria Farm is an integral part of the heritage of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary. The farm serves as a symbol of the struggle and sacrifice of a small group of women who settled on the Lawrence County land in 1864 and succeeded in establishing a viable, productive farm when others before them had failed. Land management at the farm is based on spirituality, sustainability, simplicity, and the preservation of all local life systems.
Home to a greenhouse, two high tunnels, and a newly renovated produce market, the Villa Maria Farm is situated on 759 acres of land near the Pennsylvania-Ohio border. The farm encompasses 300 acres and includes nine acres of naturally grown produce gardens. In 2020, Villa Maria Farm officially achieved organic certification for its fields, gardens, and greenhouse. It has been re-certified each year since.
And although the sisters no longer do the bulk of the physical labor, their hands are still involved in nurturing the seeds that produce the harvest. In keeping with the sisters’ mission of helping those in need, a large portion of produce is donated to local food banks, shelters, and parishes.
The farm also offers a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), which allows members of the community to share in the risks and rewards of food production. For the 16-week growing season (weather permitting), CSA members who purchase a farm share will receive a selection of fresh, seasonal, certified organic produce, fruit, flowers, and herbs each week.