Farming The City

Good Shepherd Montessori School's urban farm occupies approximately two acres of our property and includes endless opportunities for hands-on learning. We follow regenerative growing practices and embrace the philosophy of permaculture, which seeks to care for the earth, care for the people on the earth, and share with others the fruits of the earth. Our farm is home to goats, chickens, rabbits, and bees and produces a great variety of fruits and vegetables each season. The farm is at the center of our school culture and serves as a resource to the wider Michiana community.

Adult Education

We want our urban farm to be a resource to the local community. We are committed to embodying permaculture philosophy and practicing regenerative agriculture. We want to work together with others in our community to care for the earth, to care for the needs of those around us, and to share what we have with others. To that end, we offer workshops, classes, and other educational opportunities throughout the year. All are invited to take part. Come join us as we work together to ensure a more sustainable future for local food production. 

Permaculture for Backyard Food Production

Friday, June 7, 2024: 9am–5pm

Learn about the design philosophy of permaculture and its usefulness for growing food at home. Come away with practical experience and ideas for your own backyard design.

Register by May 15

Beginner Farmer Education: Small Farming for the Future of Food Security

June 3–August 9, 2024

This in-depth course addresses the ins and outs of food production using a regenerative farming model. The course is for both beginner farmers and classroom teachers interested in farm to school programming.

Register by May 15

Online Conference

Farm and School Education for the Future of Food Security

Available Now: This collection of videos is an in-depth resource for teachers, farmers, and other community members interested in developing farm and school partnerships and cross-curricular experiences focused on food, farming, and sustainability.

Community Sponsored Agriculture

Joining the CSA at Good Shepherd Montessori School is not just about food, but about education as well. CSA members receive a generous amount of fresh fruits and vegetables each week and also learn about small-scale regenerative farming through hands-on experience. Members participate in all aspects of our farm production and gain a better understanding of agriculture’s role in personal and environmental health. Each membership also supports our beginner farmer internship program.

We believe in creating the best value for our members, while maintaining the principles of earth stewardship and educating the next generation of farmers. Member feedback each year helps us to grow and change to best serve our community. It’s a win-win opportunity: we hope you can come grow with us this season!

2024 CSA Options

Working Membership – Our most popular membership. In May, join us on Saturday mornings from 8—10 a.m. And from June through October join us on Wednesday or Saturday from 7—10 a.m. for a work-to-learn CSA experience. You will work with other community members to grow, maintain, and harvest a diverse variety of produce. You will receive a fair share of weekly produce equaling roughly 3/4 bushel and access to bulk amounts when they are available. If a full membership is too big, you can share your membership (1/2 membership) with a friend. See the membership agreement for more details.

Work Days: May 5—October 26

Cost: $475.00

Pick-Up Only – Drive through and pick up your 3/4 bushel variety pack of fresh organic produce with flowers, farm fresh eggs, or another value-added item each week. If a full membership is too big, you can share your membership (1/2 membership) with a friend. See the membership agreement for more details.

June 1–September 14

Cost: $550.00

GSMS Farm Camp

Each summer our school sponsors an urban farm day camp program for children 4–12 years old. Children are hands-on involved in the everyday activities of a working urban farm. Each day includes farm chores, agriculture lessons, harvesting, and cooking or nature projects. Nutrition and earth stewardship lessons are intrinsic to all experiences. Take away projects are fun and meaningful and will bring these lessons home.

We welcome children from all walks of life and surrounding communities to join our summer fun (and will provide scholarships when needed). Ninety percent of our time together will be outdoors.

As always, our goal is to follow the child’s excitement and wonder as we visit and learn about the special places on the farm. From the barnyard to the gardens to some very special secret places, it will be a summer of new and exciting discovery.

Come grow with us this summer.

Farm Camp Schedule 2024

* All camp guides are experienced adults and background checked. A release of liability form will be required for participation.

4—6 Year Olds

FARM ADVENTURE


Children will use their five senses to discover many special places on the urban farm, including the barnyard, vegetable gardens, the orchard, and the secret garden. Class size limit: 15. (Children should be 4 years old before May 1 for this camp).

  • Monday—Thursday, 9:00am—12:00pm
  • One Week Sessions
  • June 24—August 1, 2024
  • Cost: $115 Per Week

We ask that each child be limited to two weeks of farm camp to allow all interested families to participate. Please complete one registration form per child.

7—9 YEAR OLDS

DISCOVERING WHERE OUR FOOD COMES FROM


This class is a non-stop immersion into the nature of a working urban farm. Campers will work and harvest in all areas of the farm. Animal Husbandry basics will be taught and demonstrated. Class size limit: 15. (Children should be 7 years old before May 1 for this camp).

  • Monday—Thursday, 9:00am—3:00pm
  • One Week Sessions
  • June 24—August 1, 2024
  • Cost: $210 Per Week

We ask that each child be limited to two weeks of farm camp to allow all interested families to participate. Please complete one registration form per child.

10—12 YEAR OLDS

I CAN GROW


Learn basic farming skills. Campers will work alongside interns in the field and with the livestock. Each day will include field work, harvesting and an interactive food preparation class. A great class for future Jr. counselors. Class size limit: 15. (Children should be 10 years old before May 1 for this camp).

  • Monday—Thursday, 9:00am—3:00pm
  • One Week Sessions
  • June 24—August 1, 2024
  • Cost: $210 Per Week

We ask that each child be limited to two weeks of farm camp to allow all interested families to participate. Please complete one registration form per child.

Once the registration form is complete, we will email you within 2 business days to confirm your chosen week(s) and to deliver an invoice. Payment is due upon receipt, and non-payment within 7 days will automatically cancel your Farm Camp registration(s).

Payments are non-refundable. If for any reason your child is unable to attend the week of camp for which they are registered, you may call the office at 574-288-0098 to inquire about availability for a different week or to join the waitlist for a week that is full.

We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Internships

Good Shepherd Montessori School offers a limited number of internships each summer to students wanting a 10-week experience in ecological horticulture and earth stewardship. Interns work closely with our Farm Manager and Regenerative Agricultural Specialist, Theri Niemier, who has 25+ years of experience in farming and education. See below for all the details and information about how to apply.

Description

We are in an exciting time for the field of food, farming, and sustainability. The desire for re-invention of our food industry is unprecedented and critically necessary. With less than two percent of the current population directly involved in farming, widespread education is needed to address the future of food security. 

Our summer internships are an opportunity for students to understand the role of agriculture in environmental restoration. Students interested in agriculture, nutrition, earth sciences, or theology are encouraged to apply.

Our urban farm uses intensive annual and permaculture growing practices. We grow fruits, vegetables, eggs, honey, and limited meats. Interns participate in all areas of production and aspects of the farm business including educational classes, youth farm camps, and our community sponsored agriculture programming (CSA). In addition, we partner with other nearby farmers to allow interns an even wider range of diverse and exciting farm experiences.

In short, the purpose of the internship program is:

  • To help interns gain experience in vegetable, fruit, and meat production using proven organic practices that are mindful of sustainability with regards to the environment, the availability of affordable fuel, and the future food security needs of our local communities

  • To help interns experience a variety of successful small scale, food producing farming styles

  • To help interns know the steps, from planning to market, for food farming

  • To help interns understand food security issues that necessitate growth in small farming everywhere.

Duties and Responsibilities

Our farming experience is an immersion in nature. Some days are exhausting but always exciting and full of reward. A typical day on the farm starts early and includes field work and more physically demanding tasks until noon. Afternoons can include shade work, class work, or down time. Intern hours include Saturday mornings.

The internship program begins with five weeks of heavy focus on urban farming practices and course work regarding ecological agriculture. The second five weeks focus on fieldwork and education projects including but not limited to farm camps and leading volunteer projects.

Specific duties include:

    • Daily fieldwork, including animal maintenance chores and farming practices

    • Using farm equipment, including hand tools, sprayers, tillers, and farm tractor

    • Keeping detailed records on all farm activities

    • Participation in weekly educational components, including presentations, workshops, farm tours, and movies

    • Pre-reading assignment, includes The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Young Readers Edition) by Micheal Pollen

    • Leadership roles with youth in an educational setting

Position Requirements

  • High school graduate, must be 18

  • Candidates should have an interest in environmental restoration and food production/organic farming

  • Able to work hard mentally and physically; required lifting can reach 50 lbs.

  • Tolerant of sweat, dirt, sun, and rain (enjoying it is a plus)

  • Able to work well as a team member and independently

  • Able to work a minimum of 10 weeks, start date May or early June (must sign intern contract). Housing: Some host housing available.

  • Able to secure a background check

Application for Internship

Please complete the Internship Application. Applicants will be contacted for an in-person or telephone interview, but please feel free to follow up on your initial application submission with an email or phone call.