Loyola University Chicago

Retreat & Ecology Campus



About the LUREC Farm

Welcome to the Loyola Farm at Loyola’s Retreat and Ecology Campus in beautiful Woodstock, Illinois! Here you will find updates on gardening classes, our plant sale, the re-opening of our farm stand and other exciting happenings. Please check back frequently for new updates and important information.

Meet our new Farm Operations Coordinator, Rachel Catlett

Rachel Catlett has spent the last 26 years gardening in the Midwest. She landed in Chicago in 1992 at the Chicago Botanic Garden in the Urban Horticulture department, building community gardens throughout the City of Chicago in the Green Chicago Program. She moved on to running her own small garden design and consulting business while her sons were young and growing an extensive vegetable and perennial garden at her home. She then went on to work for Craig Bergmann Landscape Design as a Senior Gardener in the Garden Care Division, caring for large perennial gardens throughout the North Shore, Chicago, and Oak Park. She spent 6 years managing an estate in Southeast Wisconsin, before she and her husband bought a 40-acre farm in Sugar Creek Wisconsin where they raise sheep and fiber goats and have extensive vegetable and cutting flower gardens. She has been a teacher of horticulture and gardening classes at the School of the Botanic Gardens for several years. She worked in many facets of the horticulture world including perennial production, garden center sales, and design build firms. Rachel’s passions include permaculture and sustainable farming methods, as well as beekeeping and fruit production.

Future Vision of the LUREC Farm

The future of the LUREC Farm will include a redesign of the garden beds to accommodate permanent raised beds and the incorporation of more perennial vegetables and fruits. We will also be introducing a cut flower component to the garden that will result in cut flowers for sale at the farmers market and possibly a "Pick your own flower field" as well as perennial flowers to attract pollinators and beautify the vegetable garden. We will also increase the orchard and introduce heritage varieties of apples and pears. We will increase the varieties of perennial fruit crops and add alternative fruit varieties that are native to the area to increase the biodiversity and attract native fauna to the site.

We are adapting our production model to incorporate more permaculture systems and sustainable practices, including no-till bed management and increasing the composting capabilities. We are reducing the amount of food production to tailor to the needs of the kitchen facility and using succession planting and timing of harvests to reduce waste and meet the needs of our chef. Irrigation will be updated and new technologies will be used to modify the existing infrastructure to better meet the labor and time constraints of our farm. Come and join us on Fridays to tour the farm and see what we are up to. Visitors are always welcome and volunteers are never turned away. It’s a beautiful space, come help us build and reap the harvests of our labor.

Sustainable Food Operation

The Loyola farm strives to be a sustainable food operation and works in conjunction with the LUREC kitchen to ensure maximum productivity. Some key factors in having a sustainable food operation include preserving for winter, composting, eating seasonally, and year-round production. The LUREC greenhouse contains winter lettuce, arugula, beets, radishes and spinach while the hoop house has cold weather veggies planted: carrots, parsnips and leeks. Our goal is to continue to increase efficiencies and be near a 100% sustainable food operation.

Events & Classes

View all of our upcoming farm workshops, gardening classes, and farm events on our Farm Workshops & Events Page.

Contact Info

If you have any questions, would like to get a tour of the grounds, or are interested in volunteer opportunities please contact lurec@luc.edu or 815.338.1032.