Genesis Farm was founded in 1980 by the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, New Jersey. This 140-acre farm, with its rolling hills, woodlands, marshes, its houses and farm buildings, was bequeathed by Rupert and Mary Von Boecklin who had lived and farmed here since the 1940's. Before their arrival, Genesis Farm had been in the Kerr and DePuy families. Over the years it had been used for cattle, dairy, and sheep farming and was known as the Red Cat Farm to people in this area.
There had never been any association between the Von Boecklin family and the Dominican Sisters, but through some providential purpose this farm was left to the Sisters who use it as a new expression of their traditional work in education.
The decade of the 1970's marked a growing awareness of the urgent problems that were affecting the planet worldwide. The pollution of air, water, and soils had been documented by Rachel Carson and a steady stream of other scientific and ecological writers. During the 1960's and 1970's the family farm crisis with its consequent effects of malnourishment and world hunger had also become evident. Racism and war had torn deep rifts in the fabric of our national life, and the connections between our local and global problems had become much clearer.
This is the context in which the Dominican Sisters founded Genesis Farm. Reflecting on these major issues prompted them to deepen their commitment to education as a way to help shape a more hopeful future and to place this land into permanent conservation.
In 1998, an additional 86 acres of land adjoining the original Red Cat Farm was donated by neighbor and friend Katherine Shepard. This land, which includes a beautiful pond, has come to be known as Shepard's Blessing. In 2001, this land was also put into conservation to protect it from any future development.