In 2015, the Gill St. Bernard’s School Board of Trustees was able to reacquire a large piece of property contiguous to the main campus through a combination of purchase and gift. Throughout this process, the trustees and Head of School were guided by the vision of Home Winds as a working farm; one that ultimately would be self-sustaining.
 
Its primary purposes were further defined as: 

  1. To support and enrich the academic programs of GSB;
  2. To strengthen the school community through the hosting of special events and other functions;
  3. To house the school’s Operations Department and equipment; and
  4. To generate revenues through farming and raising livestock that would offset its operating expenses.
 
As designed, Home Winds is serving as a true outdoor classroom in which students may explore and learn. With the farm and garden as backdrops, teachers challenge students to think about the environment and the relationship between the school and the larger community. Experiential learning at Home Winds engages students with issues including animal husbandry, sustainability, farmland preservation, and environmental stewardship.The bucolic setting makes Home Winds a perfect location for hosting special events, such as receptions, meetings, planning sessions, and celebratory functions – all serving to bring the community closer together. Home Winds features a main house, several agricultural buildings, extensive pastureland, a large stocked pond, two apple orchards, a two-acre garden, and provides a perfect place for our Operations Department and equipment.
 
All the animals cared for on Home Winds Farm fulfill a vital role in its sustainable mission. As a part of this, Black Angus and Hereford beef cattle are raised to be sold for processing at maturity. All cattle are pasture raised and grass fed, meaning they are out on the pasture 24/365. A rotational grazing system is used so the cattle are always on fresh-growing pasture. The animals have access to water and shade, they are vaccinated to prevent diseases, with no antibiotics or hormones used to treat the herd. Home Winds Farm fully supports the humane treatment of our livestock, and those intended for processing are transported to a USDA Food and Safety inspected facility for a humane death, which requires an animal to be completely sedated, insensible to pain, and without distress.
 
Since its early history, Gill St. Bernard’s School maintained a connection to the land and farming. We honor this tradition and are continuing this connection to our past with the establishment of a sustainable working farm, called Home Winds.
 
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Teaching and Learning

Biodiversity studies
Botany
Environmental science
Exploration of habitats and systems
Farmland preservation
Hydroponic gardening
Painting en plein air
Photography
Soil analysis
Stream and pond studies
STREAMS program (grades 4-6)
Trout in the Classroom program
Upper School Animal Science course
Weather and climate change analysis

Stewardship & Sustainability

Egg production
Farm and garden to table initiatives
 • Apple orchard
 • Produce
 • Herbs
Hive and honey bee apiary
Maple syrup production

Outdoor Features & Facilities

Animal barns
Scout Cabin
Two-acre garden
Two Class-A trout streams
Two greenhouses
Extensive pastures and open space
Stocked pond
Operations Center

Arts, Athletics & Activities

All-school art shows
Artists-in-residence
Cross country course
Fly Fishing Club
Hiking Club
Hi Hills Camps
Unit programs

Management and Operations

Mr. Rabel manages the Home Winds farm, which includes caring for all the animals and livestock, maintaining the farm equipment and managing the overall infrastructure. He also collaborates with faculty on classroom visits and curriculum-based, hands-on learning. Rabel holds a bachelor of science in production animal science from Rutgers University. Prior to joining Gill, he worked as a research assistant for the university’s Department of Animal Science and also served as an Animal Nutrition and Dairy Cattle Practicum teaching assistant. In addition, Steven served as an agricultural and animal care intern with Becker Farms in Mooreland, Indiana where he cared for over 2,000 organically-raised animals under the supervision of a food animal veterinarian.

“I love showing the connection between farm and table and working with the GSB community to demonstrate the importance of agriculture,” Rabel said.

Livestock

Cattle
(Black Angus & Hereford)
Chickens

Other Animals
(Donkeys, Goats, Sheep)

Home Winds Farm

Home Winds Farm adds unique, innovative value to Gill St. Bernard’s School as a sustainable working farm, meeting facility and outdoor education/recreation space. Accordingly, the Home Winds Farm fully supports the humane treatment of our livestock including, but not limited to cattle, sheep, goats, and poultry. All of the animals cared for on Home Winds Farm fulfill a vital role in its sustainable mission. Those intended for processing are transported to a USDA Food and Safety inspected facility for a humane death as ensured by the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act of 1958. This law requires an animal to be completely sedated, insensible to pain, and without distress. It is the Farm Manager’s mandated responsibility to determine the optimal, appropriate and safe number of livestock cared for, in order to ensure the sustainability of Home Winds Farm.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a rigorous, meaningful, and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.