On July 14, 2020, the first potato harvest of the “Little Portion Farm” was celebrated. A liturgy of blessing was conducted for the occasion, led by Friar James McCURRY, the Minister Provincial of the Province of Our Lady of the Angels in the USA (OLA).
In 2015, Pope Francis published the encyclical Laudato Si’, in which he urged the world to take action on climate change and protect those most vulnerable. “He asked us to consider both the cry of the poor and the cry of the planet,” said Friar Michael Joseph LASKY. The Pope inspired Friar Michael to find a new use for eighty acres of land near Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
For years, the land had been leased for cultivating corn and soybeans; using industrial methods that depleted the soil and made it too compacted. Friar Michael understood: “I took a walk out into the middle of our farmland and it was like walking on concrete,” In his region, climate change has been causing dangerous downpours and flooding. Compacted soil makes the flooding worse because water runs off the fields rather than being absorbed.
Therefore, the friars decided to transform their land. They chose to rent a large part of it to an organic farmer who grazes cattle in a sustainable way.
Moreover, Friar Michael, along with other confreres, created a small farm on three acres: the “Little Portion Farm” to be exact. They planted cover crops to replenish the soil and make it fertile. As a result, in the summer of 2019, they had their first small-scale harvest of vegetables, which they offered to the Franciscan Center in Baltimore. The Center is a partner of this project and provides services to economically disadvantaged people.
These confreres of ours reside at the Provincial Curia and at the OLA Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, Maryland. We are truly grateful to the Lord for always offering us a better way!
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