Shaker Village Farm Meat Shares

J. Michael Moore, Farm Manager 

There is a history of agriculture at Pleasant Hill that is deeply rooted in the Shaker spirit. We embrace this heritage in every choice we make on the farm today. The Shakers were among some of the most prominent agriculturists of their time, even working with some famous Kentuckians like Henry Clay. The Shakers were practicing sustainable agriculture and humane animal husbandry before it was the “right way” to do things through their set of millennial laws. 

Section VII. 

Order Concerning Beasts, &c. 

  •  No beasts belonging to the people of God, may be left to suffer with hunger, thirsts or cold, in consequence of neglect, on the part of those who have the care of them.  But all should be kept in their proper places, and properly attended to according to their needs. 
  • Beasts may not be called by the given or christen names of persons. 
  • No kinds of beasts, birds, fowls, or fishes, may be kept merely for the sake of show, or fancy. 
  • No beasts or any living thing, may be wantonly pained, injured, or tortured.  And no living thing may be chastened or corrected in a passion. 

We believe the land we stand on is to be tended in a sustainable and regenerative way that ensures the history of its production provides for us now and continues to produce for the next generations of guests at Pleasant Hill. Every year we produce thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables from our certified-organic garden and orchard, but what you may not know is that we provide protein to our onsite restaurant and local communities.  

The Shaker Village Farm provides a true farm-to-table experience with fresh seasonal produce delivered daily to The Trustees’ Table restaurant.

Our farm supports more than 300 animals that play a significant role in our success. We believe every animal has a purpose; we use their natural abilities to mimic how they interact in nature to manage our land in a fashion that improves the land they occupy. These ecological services are exemplified through manure used as fertilizers in our garden, holistic grazing to improve our pastures, or even using ducks to manage pests and waste in our orchards.  

All things are interconnected on our farm to ensure our livestock live the best possible natural life while improving the land we rely on. We are focused on the philosophy of “one bad day,” whether it is some of our favorite barnyard friends or our production livestock, we work every day to treat them all the same and provide them with the best quality of life. 

Farm Manager J. Michael Moore checking on livestock in the pasture.

Every year we provide thousands of pounds of meat to our restaurant, The Trustees’ Table, but we have expanded to provide the best possible meat from our fields to your plate. We finish all our cattle and sheep on grass, and all of our hogs and turkeys are pasture raised and only feed non-GMO grains. When you purchase a meat share or garden share from our farm, you are not only supporting 200 years of history, you are also supporting furthering sustainable and regenerative practices that we believe are the path forward and the future of our food systems. Don’t just take it from us, read what one of our happy customers had to say about their experience. 

“Leslie and I are enthusiastic supporters of Shaker Village. When we learned that they were butchering and selling beef and pork raised on property we quickly put in our order. We purchased a whole cow and have enjoyed several of the cuts. The beef has a wonderful fresh, healthy taste to it that just can’t be found in grocery store meat.  The cuts are perfect serving sizes, and Mike Moore, Shaker Village Farm Manager, couldn’t be easier to work with or more accommodating. It’s rewarding to us knowing we are serving our family premium, tasty, and wholesome proteins while supporting Shaker Village. We hope you’ll consider Shaker Village when buying your beef or pork.” 

Mike Browning & Dr. Leslie Horn 

If you are preparing for the holidays, special occasions or looking to stock your freezer, we’d be grateful if you considered purchasing a meat share of lamb, pork or poultry from the Shaker Village Farm.  

Environmental Education Field Trips

Pony Meyer, Program Specialist
Laura Baird, Stewardship Manager

Shaker Village boasts 2,000 acres of Nature Preserve full of educational potential. We host a variety of environmental education opportunities through our discovery treks and seasonal guided hikes; however, part of the challenge in harnessing this potential for larger school groups is access. Recently, we have started to expand our environmental education field trip offerings by improving access to natural areas closer to the Village center. To do this, we secured an 18-month grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to fund pond restoration, habitat improvement and environmental education opportunities in a specific project area.  

Learn more about school programs at Shaker Village here.  

NFWF Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Program Grant

In Fall 2022, we received a Five Star & Urban Waters Restoration Program Grant from the NFWF. This grant funded habitat improvement, pond restoration and environmental education in a 20-acre area of early successional forest and wetland habitat.

This upland drainage includes three historic farm ponds, the largest of which was built in 1837 and is a 2.5-acre pond stocked for catch-and-release fishing. The Shakers called this pond the “Big Pond” or “West Pond.” Historically, it was an important source of water and ice for the Shakers, especially during periods of drought. The smallest pond in the project area is roughly 0.2 acres and catches water released from an on-site wastewater treatment facility. The project also includes the small stream that connects these ponds and the remaining length of this drainage until it connects to a tributary of Shaker Creek, which drains into the Kentucky River after approximately 4.5 miles.

This map shows the 20-acre restoration and educational area including three historic farm ponds. 

Restoration and Habitat Improvement

For habitat improvement, the project focuses on the removal of invasive plants such as bush honeysuckle and garlic mustard as well as replanting native species selected to support birds and pollinators. Both the Preserve and Program departments, as well as community volunteers and Mercer County students have played an integral part in this stewardship.

Upland streams, headwaters and wetlands are considered priority habitats in Kentucky’s State Wildlife Action Plan and many of the birds who utilize this habitat are considered priority species in this area of the state. This project builds upon previous work completed on property to improve the habitat and the quality of the watershed. Since 2009, more than 1,000 acres of surrounding fields at Pleasant Hill have been converted from modern farmland to native shortgrass prairies and managed for grassland bird diversity. 

Click here to learn more information on the land conservation efforts in the Preserve at Shaker Village.

Environmental Education Programs for Mercer County Students

NFWF also funded the development of two environmental education programs in this project area specifically for students in Mercer County, Kentucky:

  • Pond Restoration, Habitat Improvement, and the Importance of Native Plants
  • Water Quality Testing in Shaker Village Ponds

Over the winter of 2022-2023, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill’s Program and Preserve teams developed these stewardship programs; ran a teacher focus group for participating teachers; and cleared a temporary hiking path through the area. In the spring of 2023, we piloted and launched the two new programs for grades 3-12. We ran 11 programs with nine different teachers and provided programming for 174 students! Students from Burgin Independent and Mercery County High School used a hands-on 3D model to explore how watersheds work and the impact of possible pollutants. Hiking a little over a mile through the project area, students also performed water quality testing in two Shaker Village ponds and planted native trees/shrubs in riparian areas. Students learned how Best Management Practices like planting native plants and vegetation buffers near our waterways help mitigate non-point source pollution.

8th grade students from Burgin Independent using a 3D watershed model to learn about water pollution.

Students planted a variety of bareroot native trees and shrubs including Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum), Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum), American Hazelnut (Corylus Americana), Eastern serviceberry (A.canadensis), American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), and Common Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). Students also placed tree protectors (blue tubes pictured) to protect the young trees from the elements and from foraging deer.

Third grade students from Burgin Independent planting native trees and shrubs.
A 10th grade student from Mercer County High School holds a streamside salamander (Ambystoma barbouri).

What’s Next?

Beginning this fall, the Program team will continue running these two stewardship programs where students from Mercer County will have the opportunity to test water quality, plant native plants and explore the Nature Preserve. The Preserve team will continue working on establishing the educational foot trail while the Program team will also be working on interpretive signage in this area including information on the Shaker Village wastewater treatment plant. Looking to 2024, Shaker Village plans to offer these two programs as educational field trips for students in our state and region. Please keep an eye on our school programs webpage as we continue to expand our environmental education offerings in this project area and beyond!

Gotta Have Faith

Billy Rankin, Vice President of Public Programming and Marketing

Excitement and Worry

Each time a new exhibit installation takes place in the Village, I’m filled with equal parts excitement and worry. This is especially true when the exhibit will be “permanent,” and is being installed in one of the most significant buildings at Pleasant Hill!

The built environment at Pleasant Hill is the physical embodiment of Shaker heritage in central Kentucky. Each building speaks to multiple aspects of Shaker life. The iconic architecture of these historic spaces has long inspired visitors to the Village. As historians and preservationists, our goal is to craft experiences that add depth to this inspiration by interpreting the story of the Pleasant Hill Shakers.

In July, we shared plans for The Believers. This new exhibition will explore the faith and theology of the Shakers, and is currently being installed on the second floor of the 1820 Meeting House.

Bringing Spirit to the Space

When we began planning The Believers, our team quickly realized the opportunity at hand.

Every visitor to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill comes with their own set of individual beliefs. They may be religious beliefs, but can also be embodied by a personal philosophy, or set of values. Although our interpretive staff do a wonderful job leading guided tours and conducting Shaker music programs in the Meeting House, many visitors to the building come outside those program times. For them, it is an empty space, and they must “fill in the blanks.”

The Pleasant Hill Shakers were renowned for the fervor of their worship, and the depth of their faith. They endeavored to live their lives without sin. They sought to create Heaven on Earth. This was the reason for their society, and their mission.

The goal of The Believers is to encourage our visitors to learn more about why the Shakers lived, not just how. By doing this, we hope that in some small way guests to Pleasant Hill consider their own purpose, and how their personal beliefs impact every decision they make, building their world around them.

Join Us

On Friday, September 22 at 6:00 p.m. Shaker Village will host the grand opening of The Believers. This is a free event, with online registration still available. Funding for the Believers and our grand opening has been provided by a generous contribution from the Eli Lilly Endowment.

Until then, I hope you enjoy these preview photos from our ongoing installation!

Follow Our Progress

Expect to hear more about the progress of our Long-Range Plan projects on social media, through emails and on the Shaker Village blog. We hope you follow along!

If you have questions about master site planning at Shaker Village, or if you would like to support our efforts, please reach out to our Vice President of Public Programming & Marketing, Billy Rankin at brankin@shakervillageky.org or 859.734.1574.

This is the thirteenth article in an ongoing series outlining long-range planning at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. New to the series? You can visit our previous articles here:

The Trail West

Billy Rankin, Vice President of Public Programming and Marketing

Trailhead on the Move

When Shaker Village introduced the list of projects associated with its Long-Range Plan in May, it was noted that “no project stands alone.” Each individual project represents a piece of a larger puzzle, and in many cases the completion of one project is critical to the success of another.

This week we’re going to look at the ongoing effort to move the location of the West Trailhead, one of three trailheads used to access the Village’s 33-mile trail system. Work to relocate the trailhead began just last week, and would not have been possible without a grant through the Kentucky Colonel’s Good Works Program.

The new location for the West Trailhead will not only be more convenient for guests, but will also alleviate traffic near the 1850 West Lot Wash House, a critical step in our plans for that important structure.

A Popular Destination

The West Trailhead is the most popular point of access to Shaker Village’s multi-use trails. All horseback and carriage riders launch from this trailhead, due to its proximity to the Village’s stables, paddocks, and equine obstacle course. Hikers enjoy a variety of trails with access to acres of river cane, scenic prairie views, Shawnee Run Creek and the Fulling Mill Waterfall.


Currently, there is limited parking for hikers at the West Trailhead, which leads many guests to park in areas not intended for vehicles. This can harm animal habitat, damage landscaping and create hazards for the large horse trailers flowing to and from equestrian areas.

Luckily, we have a “built-in” solution!

Work in Progress

The image above shows the current site of the West Trailhead, with equestrian stables in the background. While horseback riders will still enter the Preserve on a variety of trails from the stables, the new location of the West Trailhead will provide much-needed parking and other future amenities for hikers.

The 1828 West Lot Dwelling sits along the West Lot Road, on the way to the current trailhead. The new location of the trailhead will take advantage of the 70 car parking lot just behind the Dwelling. The West Trailhead kiosk and map will be located near the northwest corner of this parking area.

Shaker Village’s Preserve Team is working on a new connector trail that will lead from the trailhead at the West Lot Parking Lot, toward the Chinquapin and Shawnee Run trails. Eventually, as additional funding is secured, restrooms will be built near this trailhead to serve hikers and event guests.

Our goal is to complete the new connector trail, update directional signs and launch the new West Trailhead in late September or early October. We will keep you posted, and look forward to seeing you when you hit the trail again at Shaker Village!

Follow Our Progress

Expect to hear more about the progress of our Long-Range Plan projects on social media, through emails and on the Shaker Village blog. We hope you follow along!

If you have questions about master site planning at Shaker Village, or if you would like to support our efforts, please reach out to our Vice President of Public Programming & Marketing, Billy Rankin at brankin@shakervillageky.org or 859.734.1574.

This is the twelfth article in an ongoing series outlining long-range planning at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. New to the series? You can visit our previous articles here:

Long-Range Planning: Project Progress Report

Billy Rankin, Vice President of Public Programming and Marketing

Two months ago we introduced you to a project list proposed by the Shaker Village Long-Range Planning Committee as part of the Village’s next ten-year plan. While many of these projects still require years of additional planning, fundraising and prep work, our team has been able to begin on several this summer.

I hope you enjoy this brief photo tour of our progress!

Shaker Landing

Learn about the full plan for Shaker Landing.

Thanks to a generous private donation, work has begun on the 1866 Timber Frame Stable at Shaker Landing. In addition to preserving this important building, our team is outfitting the space so it may be used as a venue for dinners, receptions, educational programs and other events. Electrical upgrades, installation of fans and lights, and the conversion of a side room into a service kitchen have already begun.

We hope to begin using this venue for Shaker Village programs before the end of this fall, and it will be available for rental to groups beginning in the spring.

The boat launch at Shaker Landing has also received an upgrade this summer, with a new kayak/canoe slip added at the dock. Paddlers now have the option to launch from the concrete ramp, or to avoid muddy conditions and tow their boat out to the slip, with tethers provided along the walkway.

Learn more about launching your canoe or kayak from Shaker Landing.

Children’s Playscape

Learn about the Children’s Playscape.

Construction of the Children’s Playscape is in full swing (excuse the pun)!

Natural materials are arriving to create mounds, sand pits and climbing elements. Ground preparations, including grading and drainage, have begun, and several experiences within the playscape have already been arranged.

There is still much to do, and we are hoping for a “formal” opening of this area, located just behind our vegetable gardens, in late September. Thank you to the private donors that stepped up to make this experience possible!

The Believers

Learn about The Believers.

The floors of the 1820 Meeting House have been repaired and refinished, and new exhibit lighting has been installed throughout the second floor of the building. Full installation of the latest, permanent exhibition at Shaker Village will begin just after Labor Day. The exhibit will be open to the public before the end of September.

Watch your email for an invitation to the grand opening!

Workshop Room in the East Family Sisters’ Shop

A first floor room of the 1855 East Family Sisters’ Shop, previously used for storage, has now been converted to host workshops and craft classes. In this photo, the space is set for an upcoming chair taping workshop.

If you would like to attend a workshop in our new space, the next program (that has not already sold out) is Herbs for Home and Health on Saturday, October 7.

Check out the Shaker Village Event Calendar for more great workshops and programs!

Roads and Infrastructure

Shaker Village’s team of carpenters, painters, maintenance technicians and groundskeepers are constantly caring for the Village’s 3,000 acre property and buildings.

In addition to massive HVAC systems, electrical stations and a wastewater treatment plant, there are miles of buried utilities, stone and plank fences, gravel roads and paved surfaces. These structures and systems are typically not the focal point of a guest’s visit to Shaker Village – unless they are broken or out of service. Then they can ruin an otherwise peaceful and inspirational experience.

While plans are underway to upgrade “behind the scenes” infrastructure Village-wide, one area has received some immediate attention this summer. Travelers venturing out to the West Lot will no longer have to traverse the “minefield” of potholes and broken asphalt along the West Lot Road. New pavement and repairs were completed on the most heavily damaged segments of the 1.5 mile long road in July.

Enjoy your smooth ride, there’s more to come!

Follow Our Progress

Expect to hear more about the progress of our Long-Range Plan projects on social media, through emails and on the Shaker Village blog. We hope you follow along!

If you have questions about master site planning at Shaker Village, or if you would like to support our efforts, please reach out to our Vice President of Public Programming & Marketing, Billy Rankin at brankin@shakervillageky.org or 859.734.1574.

This is the eleventh article in an ongoing series outlining long-range planning at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. New to the series? You can visit our previous articles here: