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Bolte School and The Farm of Francesco Announce Partnership

Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business Staff

Mount St. Mary's University's Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business via its Center of Ecology, Economy and iMpact (CIEEM), and The Farm of Francesco have established a partnership to co-develop an education program to support a global community of farmers around the world living Laudato Si’ principles. The education program also provides a concrete answer to Pope Francis' call of responding to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.

farm-of-francesco-logo-in-text.pngThe Farm of Francesco was established by a global and diverse team of farmers, entrepreneurs, researchers, engineers and activists representing Nigeria, Colombia, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain, Mexico, China and Argentina, who met through the Economy of Francesco, within the Agriculture & Justice Village in 2020. It was formed to coordinate the development of a community of farmers that put the farmer at the center, co-creating solutions for sustainable food systems and soil regeneration.

By developing model farms and running its proprietary educational program, the Farm of Francesco aims to share the benefits of regenerative agriculture in the field, demonstrating its regeneration and economic impact on other farmers. This is done by combining the experience of farming and providing education through a network of mentors. The Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business and the Farm of Francesco are delighted to partner to pursue various opportunities for advancing its work.

As part of the partnership, the Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business and the Farm of Francesco will work together on creating professional development modules for farmers, in particular those focused on implementing Laudato Si’ principles in their operations and in interactions with regional communities. The program will be presented at the global Economy of Francesco meeting of world youth in Assisi, Italy, in September, which will be attended by several Mount St. Mary's students, according to CIEEM Director and Economy of Francesco Organizing Committee Member Alejandro Cañadas.

This partnership will enable the Farm of Francesco to keep building inter-sectorial bridges between our community of farmers and the universities, and support the co-creation and implementation of the first The Farm of Francesco cohort of farmers with hybrid learning (in-farm and online), said Co-founder and Co-CEO Maria Virginia Solis Wahnish.

“The CIEEM Center and Bolte School are proud to co-create knowledge platforms for one of the key organizations putting Laudato Si’ principles into action. Local farmers and our students will also benefit from learning about these sustainable principles. We also will engage others across Mount St. Mary’s University who can provide further support for the Farm of Francesco,” said Bolte School Dean John Nauright.

"The Farm of Francesco is delighted to enter into a partnership with Mount St. Mary's University, as this cooperation is rooted in the same values of Catholic Social Teaching. After very quickly realizing our values are shared, we are looking forward to action. In line with Pope Francis' call to act. We are a living testimony that the Laudato Si Action Platform that calls and supports our actions in line with Laudato Si' call works," stated Co-founder and Co-CEO Mateusz Ciasnocha.

Bolte School Adjunct Professor Tom Kennedy will provide vital support to the partnership. Kennedy is internationally respected for his expertise in the areas of food marketing, selling strategies, agribusiness, supply chain, food safety and security, and business strategy and management. He was the first entrepreneur in residence for the University of Ulster’s Food and Drink Business Development Centre after serving as director of the Food and Agribusiness program. Previously, he was program director and MBA director at Delaware Valley University. He is also the former director of the Center for Food Marketing at St. Joseph’s University after a successful career in the food industry. “Tom brings tremendous experience in industry, government, and academia to the Bolte School and to this partnership,” said Dean Nauright.

Both The Farm of Francesco and Mount St. Mary's University are part of The Laudato Si’ Action Platform (LSAP)a journey toward full sustainability in the holistic spirit of an integral ecology that was launched by The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development within the Holy See. It is a space for institutions, communities, and families to learn and grow together. The Farm of Francesco is a representative of farmers within the Economy Working Group of the Platform, and Mount  St. Mary’s University is enrolled as a member of the Educational Institution Working Group. This partnership is an expression of interconnection and synergy between both organizations.

The Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business, proudly integrated within the oldest independent Catholic university in the United States, fosters the divine calling of business professionals who consider the dignity of the human person, apply the highest standards of personal integrity, and serve the common good.  The Farm of Francesco is delighted to represent a global community of farmers taking concrete action to respond the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor, and connect its community and actions with the academic sector, students and community to advance the Laudato Si’ principles.

Richard J. Bolte, Sr. School of Business Staff