By Andi Barnett, Earth Charter Indiana intern
The devoted volunteers, interns, and staff work passionately day-in and day-out at the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice to maintain the daily needs and upkeep necessary for the center to run efficiently. The White Violet Center (WVC) is a ministry of the Sisters of Providence at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. However, in 1991, WVC was merely an idea of Sister Ann Sullivan’s to renew the practice of agriculture in a manner that sustains the natural environment.
She hoped to see a better, brighter, and more sustainable way of farming and administering agriculture methods on the land, one that would bring justice to all walks of life. Sister Sullivan desired to convert the fields owned by the providence away from harmful pesticides, which were heavily relied on in the late 20th century. Her idea took action with her proposal to the congregation, and in 1996, the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice was born.
WVC brings a great deal of tourism due to its housing of 39 beautiful Alpacas. Many visitors are drawn to the farm because of these peaceful creatures, but leave with a great life lesson in sustainable farming. Teaching and sharing with each visitor means more and more individuals are learning what it truly means to care for all creations in the process of sustaining our own needs. WVC executes sustainable practice throughout their five acres of USDA certified organic gardens that produce various types of greens, kale, ginger, turnips, radishes, and more! There are also two high tunnels, which are long houses that protect plants from the harsh fall and winter months, allowing an extended period for growth.
A recent addition to the center is the Farm Store, which opened this past April on Earth Day; here is where real justice is served! At first, the store was a way for the center to sell its produce year round: organic greens, honey, alpaca fiber, you name it. But then, something truly inspiring surfaced; now, there are several local farmers in Indiana whose goods rest on their shelves. Where there were once few chances to sell their local produce and goods year round or perhaps lacked alternative options for business outside of the farmer’s market months, White Violet has given them hope! The White Violet Center’s Farm Store has made it easy to find a wide variety of local farmers produce and goods, such as Pancake Mix and Cereal from Bridgeton or even Brooke’s Candy from Dana.
Beyond serving a daily dose of local justice, White Violet has proved time and time again what hard work and determination can accomplish. From its origin, an era overlapping with harmful farming methods, WVC shut down any doubts of their success at natural and sustainable farming. Now, as a thriving, organically growing powerhouse, there is no limit to what they can do; for example, WVC realized the important role their geographical location plays in the migration patterns to the monarch butterfly. Therefore, they have made it their duty to dedicate a portion of land to increase pollination and ensure the perseverance of this species and habitat while undergoing their migratory journey. As a modern, shining example of sustainable justice, the White Violet Center speaks volumes through their work to sustain all living creations.
The White Violet Center for Eco-Justice
Hours of operation: 8:30a.m.–4:30p.m.
Farm Store Hours: 11:00a.m.-6:00p.m.
Farm Store number: 812-535-2936
Address: 3850 U.S. 150 at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods, IN 47876