Bishop Siegel blesses Seton Harvest farm, dedicates Sister Peck Education Shelter

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel offers a prayer and blessing on Seton Harvest for its 19th season. The Message photo by Megan Erbacher

By Megan Erbacher

The Message editor

On May 3, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel blessed Seton Harvest for its 19th season. 

During the blessing of the farm, everyone gathered in the Education Shelter, which is close to many of the fields and crops that have been planted. 

All were gathered in a spirit of thankfulness and anticipation, Bishop Siegel said, as he asked God to bless the people and the land of Seton Harvest for the 19th season. He asked for the intercession of St. Isidore the Farmer to watch over the farm and all who are associated with it, including Seton Harvest’s staff, board of directors, volunteers, shareholders and the Sisters of the Daughters of Charity.

Bishop Siegel sprinkles holy water across the farms at Seton Harvest during a May 3 blessing. The Message photo by Megan Erbacher

Bishop Siegel thanked God, whose wisdom it was that created the earth and whose providence enriched it. God gave us the earth to cultivate, he said, so that we may gather its fruits to sustain our lives.

At the end of the prayer service, Bishop Siegel sprinkled holy water to bless the fields.

“We are so very excited and thankful to have Bishop Siegel bless the farm for us this season,” said Julie Dietz, Seton Harvest community outreach manager.

Deavron Farmer, chair of Seton Harvest’s board, described Seton Harvest as a community supported agriculture, or a CSA. Farmer said there’s a lot of education around it, including care of the earth, eating healthy and enjoying the bounty.

“The concept is that shareholders who buy into an annual share can come out and pick up produce 26 weeks in a row,” he said. “You get what was grown organically, naturally with no pesticides, no harsh chemicals. It’s a variety of produce.”

After the farm blessing, Bishop Siegel offered a prayer for the Education Shelter, which was rededicated to Sister Theresa Peck for the many years of service, love, support and dedication she provided to the farm for 20 years. It is now the Sister Theresa Peck Education Shelter

Part of the plaque reads, “Always remember what you have learned. Your education is your life – guard it well” (Proverbs 4:13).

Sister Theresa was a vital part of the farm, Dietz explained. 

“Her entire being was the farm, every thought, every prayer, was for the farm,” she said. “We would not be where we are or who we are without her. … We are very blessed to have had her as a part of Seton Harvest.”

Farmer called Sister Theresa a “driving force” behind Seton Harvest, and with her passing earlier this year, it seemed fitting to rename it in her honor.

“She was one of the original founding members who really had a vision for it,” he said. “Certainly education has always played a key role in that. The farm now has weekly farm camps where kids come out and spend days at the farm. … Seeing kids look at a carrot, and they never knew before that it has a green top.”

Bishop Siegel, far right, offers a prayer and blessing for the newly dedicated Sister Theresa Peck Education Center at Seton Harvest. Daughters of Charity, staff and board members gather around for the blessing. The Message photo by Megan Erbacher

Leadership Everyone honors Seton Harvest

Seton Harvest recently won Leadership Everyone’s 2024 Community and Neighborhood Award.

“Going into the banquet that evening, I was just elated to be nominated. … To know that someone thought enough of what Seton Harvest brings to the community, to the lower income, to the food deserts, that they thought enough of us to recognize us for our mission,” Dietz said. “When we won, I don’t think my feet touched the ground walking to the stage.”

Dietz encourages everyone to visit Seton Harvest and take a tour.

“Once you get out here, it’s peaceful, it’s different,” she said. “It brings you back to the earth. It reconnects you back to where you need to be.”