Main Menu

Women for Shepherd University hosts open house at Tabler Farm

ISSUED: 24 May 2022

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Seventy alumnae and community members attended the Women for Shepherd University (WSU) open house at the Shepherd University Agricultural Innovation Center at Tabler Farm on May 15. The tour was sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation and was an official event for Shepherd’s 150th-anniversary celebration.

​The open house, which was the 18th marquee event for WSU, featured Dr. Peter Vila and Dr. Jeffrey Groff, both faculty in the Department of Environmental and Physical Sciences. Vila, who oversaw a 2018 USDA-NRCS grant that initially developed the Agricultural Innovation Center, spoke to attendees about the various projects happening inside the aquaponics facility at the farm. Groff, who is the resident beekeeper, gave some general Tabler Farm facts and figures before speaking about the on-site apiary.

Farm manager Madison Hales with her back toward camera talking to a group of visitors.​The tour also featured Madison Hale, farm manager, who shared with the attendees about the farm’s greenhouse, outdoor vegetable production, permaculture forest, and orchard. Hale has been working in sustainable agriculture for four years and has experience at production farms, homesteads, and educational farms.

​“Tabler Farm currently has four field plots for annual production,” said Hale, who is completing her first growing season as manager. “As of this year, our field production plan has been established. It is great to see it happen after it has lived in my head for the last six months.”

​Tour attendees were greeted by alumna Kathy Jo (Tabler) Blue, who served as the lead volunteer for the event. Blue was able to share with guests her family connection to the farm. The Tabler family sold 158 acres of its property to the University in 1991.

In addition to the aquaponics facility, apiary, and greenhouse, Tabler Farm currently hosts a multi-fruit orchard, solar energy panels, and a newly established native foods forest. Once completed, the native forest will boast trees and plants indigenous to the Eastern Panhandle region.

​“The tour was amazing,” said Carolyn Miller, who, with her husband, Matt, lives in Berkeley County. “It was very informative. It is exciting to see what Shepherd has done with the farm.”

If you are interested in learning more about Women for Shepherd University or would like to help plan future events, email Meg Patterson at the Shepherd University Foundation, or call 304-876-5021, or visit the Foundation webpage.

— 30 —