Home Winds Farm

Resource

Life Outside Ourselves.
 

As both a working farm and living classroom for our PS-12 curriculum, Home Winds serves as a vibrant component of Gill St. Bernard's. More importantly, it provides our students a deeper connection to our land and the space to gain a fuller understanding on the impact they have on the world.

To see ourselves as part of something is tremendously important for our mental development and emotional health. Home Winds provides opportunities to our students to both see and feel themselves as part of the systems of life.

In our complex, technological world, it is easy to miss our ultimate reliance on the land. The mission of Home Winds Farm is to provide our youth access to nature and agricultural systems while offering academic experiences that demonstrate the role we play within the broader community.

Our Focus

Supporting Sustainability

Teaching students sustainable practices and how to think critically about their actions.

Building Connections

Using natural resources to create experiential learning activities for our student body.

Creating Stewards

Showing students how to contribute, when to take, and what life outside of themselves truly means.

The Quest for the (Im)perfect Apple

While second graders traveled to the apple orchards in pursuit of the perfect apple, they discovered something unexpected along the way.

Read The Story

Recent Home Winds Farm News

Home Winds By The Numbers:

  • 29,000 square foot vegetable and flower garden
  • 300 apple trees in our two orchards
  • 250 hazelnut trees
  • 100 native trees of diverse varieties in our nursey
  • 100 chickens
  • 40 acres of hay land
  • 35 acres of fenced paddocks for rotational grazing
  • 32 cattle
  • 20 sheep and lambs
  • 11 beehives for honey production
  • 9 sugar maple trees for syrup production
  • 8 goats
  • 3 donkeys
  • 2 converging brooks on campus
  • 2 greenhouses for year-round academic experiences

 

Supporting Home Winds Farm

Support all aspects of the farm from taking care of the animals, to providing support to continue to grow and enrich the garden, orchard and all that Home Winds Farm produces.

Make A Gift

Shop Home Winds Farm

Looking for the latest and greatest at Home Winds? Be sure to stop by our farm stand open daily during weekdays or browse our apparel on the online school store!

Shop The Store

Meet Ned Lincoln, Home Winds Farm Manager

Ned Lincoln's appreciation for GSB's landscape is evident in his bucolic vision of the "sun rising through the early morning fog, as the first rays break over the eastern hills, radiating out over the garden, farm, and campus."

Meet Ned

Follow @homewindsgsb on Instagram!

    Our History

    Since its early school history, Gill St. Bernard’s has had an intimate connection to the land and farming. Not only does the school enjoy a beautiful rural campus, its very educational foundations rest on the farming tradition.

    As we continue to create exceptional learning experiences at Gill St. Bernard's and Home Winds Farm, we acknowledge that this is the ancestral land of the Lenni-Lenape, called "Lenapehoking." The Lenape People have cared for this land for generations, and it is our honor to continue that tradition as today's stewards.

    The Early School Years — 1900

    Before merging with The Gill School in 1972, The St. Bernard’s School (SBS) was established in 1900 as a farm school where boys could receive a basic education while supporting themselves through their labor on Clairvaux Farm— the name given to the SBS property. Fruits and vegetables were grown, cattle were raised for meat and for the dairy products they provided, pork and chicken added variety to the menu. Any surplus was sold for the benefit of the school. The SBS farm proved so successful that by the forties more land was needed, and the first chapter of the Home Winds story began.

    Farm Output in 1930

    • 38 tons of hay
    • 19 tons of straw
    • 320 tons of ensilage
    • 250 bushels of wheat
    • 300 bushels of barley
    • 800 bushels of field corn
    • 200 bushels of potatoes
    • 33,000 quarts of milk
    • 840 pounds of butter
    • 350 pounds of chicken
    • 1400 dozen eggs

    The Dellicker Farm — 1942

    School enrollment was growing and additional land was needed for the school to produce more food. In 1942, Mrs. Ellis Tiger purchased the farm across from the school on St. Bernard’s Road for $20,000. The property added 128 acres, a main house (named the Dellicker House after the onetime lay judge of Peapack and Gladstone who built it), a two-story farm cottage, barns, a dairy and sheds. The acquisition provided not only needed farm acreage, but dormitory space for 14 boys in the main house. At the time, the school’s enrollment was 74.

    Dellicker House was first opened on Sunday, October 25, 1942, with a dedication by Rev. Conover, followed by afternoon tea. It was used as a senior dormitory until Conover House was built in 1950. It then became underclass housing and was renamed Morris House.

    Selling the Property—1965

    During the 1950's, the school was turning its focus away from the farming aspect of the curriculum and toward college-preparatory courses. In 1958, the end of the boarding program at SBS also marked the end of the farm/work program. With no immediate need for either the Dellicker House or its surrounding fields, the property was sold in 1965 to Carl and Betsy Shirley. For the next 50 years, the Shirleys and later their daughter Betsy Michel and her family lived in the main house, preserved the site as a working and stewarded Home Winds, as the Shirleys named the estate.

    Both families always had a cordial relationship with the school—Betsy had attended The Gill School in Bernardsville as a small child. The reintroduction of land cultivation in 2011 with the GSB Farm-to-Table program was especially pleasing to them.

    Full Circle—2015

    In 2015, Mrs. Michel, feeling the time had come to divest herself of Home Winds, approached Head of School Sid Rowell to keep and preserve the property. After having watched the school grow and strengthen over the years, she hoped that Home Winds could somehow be “returned” to Gill St. Bernard’s. Her concept meshed perfectly with GSB’s growing interest in acquiring contiguous property as well as increasing its place-based learning program.

    The first Home Winds Farm Manager, Steven Rabel, improved the garden and developed the animal program to include chickens, sheep, goats, donkeys, and cattle. The subsequent manager, Edward Lincoln, along with his assistants Sarah Pappan and Carly Seldow, built on that foundation by developing the rotational grazing program, starting a CSA, and working to incorporate students and educational experiences into the farm's operations. Some of the projects students have been a part of are building a mobile chicken coop to move the chickens onto pasture and building a caterpillar tunnel in the garden to extend the harvest season.


    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.