Nestled into the curves of the Vermillion River, Bellwether Farm is a camp, retreat, and education center dedicated to exposing the wider community to the creation that sustains all of life. As a working farm, its life focuses on four primary activities.
Facilities & Grounds
Bellwether Farm is a unique and affordable option for your next gathering. The center offers brand new facilities featuring a green technology, renewable energy, and water reclamation systems.
Earlier this year, the Diocese suffered a painful loss in Bellwether Farm’s barn fire. A period of sadness settled over the barnyard as we waited for insurance adjusters and cleanup crews to complete their work. Eventually, the farm was left with only the charred footprint of the barn. We worked around it, but it was always there. It stood as a reminder of some of the harsh realities of farm life, prompting feelings of sorrow and failure that lingered even when one left the barnyard. But all of you kept coming to stay overnight or to volunteer for a day, each time bringing with you a new wave of energy and passion. The farm needed that, those of us lucky enough to work here needed that, and we are forever grateful to you for providing it.
As spring made itself known, popping up here and there with splashes of color and promises of sunny days ahead, the new barn began to take shape. Over the last few seasons, one thing had become clear to all: the barn needed better access to the animals for children and adults. Adding a third bay allowed for the animal care and education area to be enlarged, creating an indoor space to interact with livestock and learn about proper animal care, where the benefits of smaller meat production operations could be taught. While not everyone eats meat, it is important to show an alternative to the large-scale farming operations that fill grocery store shelves but negatively impact our health and the environment in countless ways. In addition to the extra bay, the original exterior shed porch for the animals was extended and wrapped around the side to create a safe, covered, outdoor place for visitors to observe our sheep, goats, cows, and Great Pyrenees security dogs in their customary setting.
While the loss of the original barn was very painful, its larger and reconfigured replacement benefits Bellwether’s visitors and livestock, alike. The larger teaching space, both indoors and outside, increases the farm’s educational capacity, and the additional stalls accommodate more animals, especially cows. Thank you for your encouraging companionship in this transition and welcome to our new and improved barnyard!
Bellwether Farm is a model of green technology featuring passive buildings, renewable energy, and more. It is a vehicle through which we can teach the wider community about fidelity to the environment, nutrition, physical and spiritual wellness, local food sourcing, food justice, and sustainable living.
Volunteer around Bellwether Farm. Opportunities are posted as they become available.