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:
- To support and enrich the academic programs of GSB;
- To strengthen the school community through the hosting of special events and other functions;
- To house the school’s Operations Department and equipment; and
- 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 topics such as 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 in working toward creating a sustainable working farm, called Home Winds.