Pearson’s Town Farm began as a small garden project in the summer of 2005 developed by Bon Appétit General Manager Stuart Leckie and Saint Joseph’s graduate Matthew Olson. As the first years past, the garden began to take on a life of its own, run by subsequent student, faculty and staff volunteers.
In the spring of 2009 Bon Appétit wanted to further develop the farm to enlarge its potential. That year a full-time farm manager and interns were hired to expand the growing operation and develop a program that would better educate young people about agriculture and their food. That first summer’s crops were used in the College dining hall, Café Bon Appétit. During the College’s summer break, produce was taken to Catherine’s Cupboard Food Pantry. This partnership flourished and bolstered the farm’s commitment to helping educate the community and fight the growing food insecurity issues that were arising.
On July 1, 2010, Saint Joseph’s College took over full financial responsibility of the farm. Serving in collaboration with the Mercy Center, Pearson’s Town Farm has been able to further develop and refine its commitment to educating the community and empowering the underserved through simple means of planting seeds and nurturing life.
Pearson’s Town Farm is a small non-certified organic farm that is working toward a permacultural design. Our philosophy is that food is a right, not a privilege and that everyone is entitled to and should have access to fresh, healthy food. We believe that as agriculturalists it is our responsibility to produce food for people in a manner that does no harm to the environment. This means that we sacrifice “picture perfect” food for the sake of properly ripened, fresh, nutritious, flavorful food that was grown in balance with the world around us.
As educators we feel the importance of reconnecting people, both young and old with simple, naked foods; reintroducing people to the simplicity and superior health of non-processed foods. Pearson’s Town is committed to reaching out into the community to encourage those who are able to recapture the practice of Victory Gardening, to empower the underserved to help subsidize for themselves, and to inspire small at-home agriculture projects to, perhaps, subsidize incomes.
Our staff is working to create as many closed system programs on the farm as are practicable in order to demonstrate the feasibility and ease of growing a variety of foods with as only as many “outside inputs” as are necessary. Using the permaculture model, everything from our soil to our llama are interconnected for the greatest good of the whole of the farm. We recognize this model's potential as a teaching tool as we promote a strengthened and more independent local community.
“I want to thank the bunnies for being adorable and working as a great and free therapist. There was nothing better than cuddling a baby bunny before a huge test or presentation.”
— Heather Aceto ’13 management