Healthy alternative

Former spa diversifies through use of
biodynamic principles

Foxhollow continues to promote
natural, healthy living

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

PROSPECT, Ky. (July 2007) – Mary Shands has long been noted for her support of holistic health practices. The decision to close Foxhollow Spa and Bed and Breakfast opened an opportunity for Shands to convert her property into a farm based on biodynamic principles and continue her legacy of healing.

Foxhollow Cattle

Photo provided

Foxhollow has begun raising grass-fed
cattle on the farm that once housed
a day spa near Prospect, Ky.

After 13 years of business, Foxhollow closed its doors on Jan. 15. Shands bought the 1,300-acre property from her aunt 35 years ago and used it to establish a center that focused on wellness.
The farm will continue to be used to promote Shands’ mission of treating the whole person-body, mind and spirit. Her children, Janie Newton and Robert Dulaney, are revitalizing the farmland based on biodynamic principles as a way of preserving it.
In the past, the 1,300 acres “had been farmed conventionally,” said Newton. After 30 years of applying commercial fertilizers, all chemicals and pesticides were eliminated from the land in 2005.
Desiring to eliminate these toxic products from the land permanently, just as their mother had done for her clients’ health, Newton and Dulaney sought ways to restore the soil. They “explored ways to heal the land,” said Newton, 55.
In their search, they came across Austrian scientist and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Steiner’s teachings set forth rules for farming based on biodynamic principles, which are similar to organic farming.
Comparable to homeopathic medicine in that it eliminates toxins, biodynamic principles “bring vitamins back to the soil,” said Newton. It is a practice that prescribes “medicine for the earth.”
Based on their findings, the farmland was converted to a sustainable agricultural practice using biodynamic principles. They began raising grass-fed beef and initiated a vegetable Community Support Agriculture program, delivering the first vegetable baskets on May 21.
The farm currently has 100 head of black Angus. They plan to continue expanding the herd. Newton said she hopes to have 300 head within the next three years.
The cattle are rotated from pasture to pasture to graze and fertilize the land for us, said Newton. Future goals include direct marketing of the Angus meat, which will be packaged and sold from freezers on site.
More than one acre is being used to produce vegetables that will be sold through CSA shares. The yield is small now but the “variety will be better in the long run,” said Newton.
In the CSA program, individuals may subscribe to a farmer, pay a fee up front, and then receive vegetables once a week in season. The program is a good way to involve the community, said George Seay, who is part of the management team of Foxhollow Farms.
The team provides a collective management effort, and member Steve Rutledge has been involved with the Foxhollow property since 1981 through his company, Professional Land Management Inc. One of the team’s main goals is to use the cattle as a land management tool and income, said Rutledge.
Rutledge said the Shands family has always been community and service oriented. He sees the new Foxhollow Farm Cooperative as a “win-win situation for the farmers involved.”
The conversion of the farm began a little more than a year ago, said Seay, and a vision developed to use organic farming methods. Other farmers may join the co-op in the future providing such as foods as chicken and honey.
Always interested in preventive health and wellness methods, Shands served on the boards of various health care organizations to learn about different aspects of the medical field. She had medical problems when young, and felt she had not been property taken care of, said Newton.
Shands’ medical interests propelled her to found Foxhollow, become president of H.E.A.L., Inc. (Health Education Association of Louisville), director of the Children’s Hospital Board, as well as serving on many other boards for the Park Du Valle Neighborhood Health Center, Rehabilitation Center Inc., Frontier Nursing Service in Hayden, Ky., Norton Hospital Inc., Falls Region Health Council, and the Cancer Center.
Shands grew up on her father’s dairy farm in Oldham County on property now known as Norton Commons. It has been converted into a mixed-use village off of KY Hwy.22. Her father, George W. Norton Jr., founded WAVE-TV. Located north of I-71 between Chamberlain Lane and KY Hwy. 1694, the farm played host to farm-related shows that were aired on WAVE-TV and radio.
Always involved in humanitarian efforts, Shands and Phyllis George Brown in 1981 co-founded a foundation to run the Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery in Louisville. Her family has offered the site of the former Foxhollow Spa (over 8,000 square feet on 3.5 acres) to allow for the expansion of the Apple Patch Day Training Program and facility.

• To learn more, contact Shands Enterprises at (502) 589-7098. To order beef directly, call (502) 241-9674 or email: foxhollowfarms@mac.com or plm8001@bellsouth.net.

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