St. Catharine Farm, Kentucky

St. Catharine Farm is the oldest farm property of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. It traces its beginnings to 1822, when the first American Dominican Sisters began a religious community on 160 acres of land in Central Kentucky. On St. Catharine Farm, the Sisters raised vegetables, flax, sheep, and more as they taught academic lessons to area children. In the 1960s, beef production became the focus of the farm.

As years passed, the farm continued to provide food for the motherhouse table as the Sisters began to recognize the farm’s environmental significance. In the 1980s, a resource audit was completed, diversion ditches were installed to reduce erosion into the creek, and about 70 of the 123 acres of woodland were placed in the Timber Stand Improvement program. In 1990, an Integrated Pest Management program was established at St. Catharine, and in 2000 an Intensive Grazing Project was begun. Plans also were implemented to plant trees and foster wildlife habitats on the property.

Today, St. Catharine Farm continues to provide beef for the Sisters in Kentucky and now elsewhere in the country, while maintaining ecologically responsible agricultural practices. The award-winning farm serves the agricultural industry as an example of sustainable practices and hosts periodic field days to demonstrate best management techniques to local farmers.