Events & News

Cornwall Manor Celebrates Barn Ribbon Cutting & USDA Organic Certification at Trailside Organic Farm

Oct. 20, 2023


The completed bank barn at Trailside Organic Farm.

Cornwall Manor officially opened the new bank barn at Trailside Organic Farm in a ribbon-cutting event held on October 20, 2023. The new 3,840 square foot structure will assist and expand farm operations and consists of two levels. The lower level (first floor) will have a packhouse area, two walk-in coolers, storage, work area and office, equipment storage and restrooms. The second floor will feature a multi-use space for workshops and events, storage, restrooms and tool storage for residents to store their equipment for resident gardens. The barn was designed by Beers & Hoffman, Ltd. and the general contractor was Arthur Funk and Sons.

The bank barn is the latest addition at the Trailside Organic Farm, a collaboration begun in 2021 between Cornwall Manor and Kutztown’s Rodale Institute, a leader in regenerative organic agriculture. Through this partnership, a vegetable farm using organic practices has been established on Cornwall Manor’s Woods Campus and the development and organic farming is led by Rodale Institute’s team of industry experts.

Trailside Organic Farm began on one acre utilizing organic practices. During 2021, site improvements were completed and 2022 was Trailside’s first year operating as a functioning farm. A variety of cold season, spring, summer and fall crops were grown on the farm, harvested and used in dining areas on campus and were made available to Cornwall Manor residents and team members at Friday Farm Markets to purchase fresh, organic farm produce for personal use. Having hyper-local produce (items consumed where they are grown) is a benefit to our senior living community as well as the education component that our partnership offers.

Additional 2022 accomplishments included the construction of a caterpillar tunnel (also known as a hoop house), which is beneficial to extend the growing season and create a controlled growing environment; an assistant farm manager was hired; a volunteer program was implemented for Cornwall Manor residents and flowers were planted at Trailside Farm to add beauty to the site and attract pollinators. These flowers became part of beautiful bouquets that were sold at Friday Farm Markets. Additionally, ground was broken in November 2022 on a bank barn.

From left: Ian Frederick, Trailside Organic Farm Manager; Harry McConnell, Cornwall Manor President & CEO and Katie Landis, Trailside Organic Farm Assistant Farm Manager.

Goals reached during 2023 included hiring a seasonal farm helper, expanded the growing capacity to two acres (which increased the quantity and offerings of items harvested), the completion of the barn and ribbon-cutting ceremony, incorporated irrigation lines, constructed second hoop house and a full-size high tunnel, ongoing building of healthy soil structure and continued to offer workshops, farm tours and Friday Farm Markets for Cornwall Manor residents. One of the biggest goals achieved during 2023 was receiving USDA organic certification. Having the organic certification is an important milestone because it is reassurance to the consumer that they are getting the best and healthiest product because it meets the strict standards of USDA organics.

Harry McConnell, Cornwall Manor President & CEO shares, “for many reasons, this partnership was a good match and a benefit for both our residents, and we are extremely proud to be the first retirement community to partner with the Rodale Institute, and serve as a model for other continuing care retirement communities around the country.”

The Trailside Organic Farm, is located on Cornwall Manor Retirement Community’s Woods Campus, adjacent to the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail.