In 2015 the Sisters of St. Joseph affirmed a Land Ethic Statement to guide our future decisions about our Brentwood property. It is based in our charism and our awareness of the responsibility we all have for the health of Earth and in particular for the Long Island Bioregion. For the past two years we have been working with the Peconic Land Trust to preserve the land and to return it to agriculture. We have leased parcels of land to three farmers, and the fields that once were a working farm are slowly being restored to agriculture. The vegetables grown here will be totally organic and next year they should be available at farm stands for purchase by the local community. View a seven-minute video on the progress of our famers and read more about each farmer below..
THE FARM AT ST. JOSEPH’S is operated by Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc., (FREE) a non-profit agency that has served the differently-abled citizens of Long Island for over thirty years. The people whom FREE supports are the farm’s staff and are responsible for its daily care under the direction of a certified Master Gardner. They prepare the organic soil; seed and transplant the produce; and irrigate and maintain the vegetable beds throughout the growing season. They also package and deliver the shares for the members, and sell the excess produce at the farm stand.
THERA FARMS is owned by the Bolkas family (father Athan, mother Soula, son Teddy and daughter Maria). The family farm occupies about 2 acres in a decidedly nonagricultural neighborhood in Lake Hills Ronkonoma. Teddy Bolkas is now leasing 8 acres of land near the main entrance of our Brentwood campus for agricultural production. Teddy and his co-worker Manny are also planning to create a greenhouse structure for hydroponic farming of lettuce on the abandoned tennis courts on our campus. See video below to find out more about Thera Farms and hydroponic farming.
THE CORBETT FAMILY use their produce to create Zana Bio-Juices–a synergistic living probiotic formula. Joe Corbett will be farming on our Brentwood campus to grow produce to be used in these healthy juices. See video below about their work.