Incubator Farm Annual Report

Read the Annual Report Here:

At the beginning of the 2018, we took the time to look back on all we have accomplished in our first year. Since February, we’ve been working non-stop getting this program ready to make a huge impact for farmers in the local economy. We’ve helped six great local businesses expand or get their start this first year, and we have all of our previous successes to build on. We’re excited for the upcoming season, and thank everyone who has come to visit or supported our project in any way. We’ve got a lot of exciting new events coming up, including our new season of farming workshops and our planting days for the new food forest we’re creating on campus!

We’re accepting applicants currently for the 2018 season. Check it out here, find a friend, work for yourself, start a farm this summer! You can get all the updates by signing up for our mailing list on everything we have coming up this year.

Thank you all again for being on this journey with us. The place we are going is exciting, and we hope you all keep being a part of the growing community at the Patterson School Incubator Farm.

Cheers, and stay warm!


Read the Annual Report Here

The New Incubator Farm Program

Dear Patterson School Foundation friends,

My name is Kitty Gurkin Rosati, heir board member of Patterson School Foundation and former board chair. As great, great niece of our founder, Samuel Legerwood Patterson, it gives me immense pleasure to summarize for you the substantial progress we’ve made to regenerate his vision and legacy for this beautiful and historic property. As most of you know, Samuel Legerwood Patterson was the first elected NC Agricultural Commissioner, as well as a Representative and Senator; his mission was to better our land, resources and community, and to educate and inspire others to do likewise.

Ben and Ian

Farm Manager Ian Driscoll (left) and Program Director Ben Loomis (right)

After a few grant submissions, Dr. Eilene Bisgrove and I were awarded a Z. Smith Reynolds grant, which has funded the first year of the Patterson School Incubator Farm (PSIF) program. This grant has allowed us to hire a Program Director for the new program, Ben Loomis. Ben is a graduate of Appalachian State University’s Sustainable Development department, and has lived in the High Country for seven years, learning about regenerative farming, non-profit management, and community organizing. He brings a wide range of connections and planning skills, and has been busy setting up the systems that allow farmers to sign up and become part of the PSIF program. We have also hired a new Farm Manager, Ian Driscoll. Ian graduated from Warren Wilson, and spent time managing the college’s organic farm. Over the last few months, Ben and Ian have worked together to get the PSIF program started, and have begun to renew Samuel Legerwood Patterson’s legacy for forward-thinking agricultural education on this hallowed ground.

Summary, update, and future plans for our agricultural regeneration:

Initially the board committed to manage 40 acres of farmland organically; this determined acreage is presently part of a grass-fed cattle lease, which is being managed accordingly.

The current plan is prioritizing the regeneration of land surrounding the school grounds into a productive, organic farm. We believe the first step in teaching others to grow organic food is to do so ourselves, and create a successful system of producing fresh food to market within the local community, and to demonstrate the power of regenerative agriculture to yield profitable results. Through this year and next, we’ll be adding fields of vegetables, trees, and berry bushes to the land using techniques that will contribute to the soil’s health as our growing spaces develop. We are planning to sell our first harvests at Farmer’s Markets, restaurants, and our own farm stand by next year’s growing season!

The Incubator Farm program includes space on this five-acre parcel adjacent to highway 268 for vegetable rows. Farmers will also receive support from our Farm Manager Ian and access to the commercial kitchen to wash and process their produce.

Beyond farming ourselves, we see this as a space for members of community to learn in different ways. We are working with exceptional teachers and farmers to lead workshops, trainings, and certification courses for food businesses. We’re building a raised bed community garden for small growers to rent. And for people ready to take the leap and start their own farm, we have designated some half acre plots, and five acres of our best land to lease to new farmers.


Together, we are designing the space as a living classroom, blending natural beauty and productivity. Community-minded individuals are invited to live, learn, and farm together. Using the abundant resources available at Patterson, we are creating a living classroom that builds careers in sustainable farming, value added food production and culinary ventures, while providing fresh food to the community.

Our first series of farming and gardening workshops! You can buy tickets and read more at

These are the goals we’ve set for the upcoming year. If you’d like to sponsor a project, please let us know! We’ll be raising money and completing each task as soon as we have the funds. Each of these projects will help the program grow and raise its own money by selling produce and renting space, with our goal of making our budget as sustainable as our farm.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Young blueberries

The first blueberries and blackberries planted by the pond on East Campus are doing great and we’ll be adding more all around campus through the coming year!









With the scale and history of Patterson, we have a chance at redefining expectations of what successful agricultural enterprises look like. How do you want to get involved? Ian has helped us make good use of two recent donations: a neighbor gifted us the funds to start our first organic gardening camp for children this year, another PSF friend donated twenty blueberry and blackberry bushes. PSF board members have funded everything from our PSIF scholarship program, to Weise Dorm’s new curtains, and our Kruger Brother concert! There are many opportunities to pay your passion forward at Patterson! You can message me at, Ben at, or sign up for the Incubator Farm newsletter to stay abreast of upcoming workshops, retreats and the many exciting happenings to come.


Thanks! Kitty

Clovis’s Journey

Clovis with Danny Seaver and Janet Spoon at the latest board meeting

Clovis with Danny Seaver and Janet Spoon in Gard Hall

Patterson Alumnus Clovis Ballet Gniguessi, Class of 2008, his wife Melissa, his 13-month-old daughter Joyce, and his sister-in-law Jahel, recently vacationed at The Patterson School Campus for a month, leasing the first floor Wiese Hall former Dorm Parent apartment. Melissa and Jahel were excited to actually see “this little school in NC” that Clovis had told them so much about—and to finally meet “Mama (Janet) Spoon,” his NC “mother” and favorite Librarian. Of course he was also anxious to show off his beautiful daughter! Clovis currently works from home (online) with Walmart, an arrangement which made the visit possible.

Clovis, Melissa, and Jahel are all from the Central Africa Republic (CAR). Clovis came to Patterson in February 2007 as a Bulldog Prep Basketball Athlete (being 6 ft. 8 in. tall), recruited by Eugene Pelema of MD, who had brought him to the US from Cameroon where his family had fled for safety in in 2002. Clovis and his family of six are of the Yakoma tribe and Christians, two groups which had been blamed for the 2001 attempt on the life of President Ange Patasse, who was of the Sara tribe and a Muslim. Therefore, the government of the CAR was trying to kill all males of his tribe and all male Christians. The soldiers did not kill women, but they beat and raped them. They found the Gniguessi Family three times in CAR, once in Zaire, and twice, even in Cameroon, and additionally broke the younger sister’s foot in 2004. They kidnapped his father in December 2008, while Clovis was attending Tyler College in Texas, where he had received a basketball scholarship.

The kidnapping and torture of his father (who was finally released for $2,000) was discouraging and greatly interrupted Clovis’ college education, but his faith nourished his perseverance, and he returned to NC and finished his degree in Business Administration at Fayetteville State University in May 2013.

Clovis and his daughter, Joyce

Clovis and his daughter, Joyce

While a Patterson student, Clovis received asylum status from the US office of Immigration (ICE). Clovis credits The Patterson School with saving his life, both literally and figuratively. Coming to Patterson from Africa made him safe from those who had vowed to kill him and the other males in his family. His Patterson education gave him opportunity to earn a college degree.




Having endured so much and having been so blessed, Clovis’ thoughts and heart turn toward the CAR refugee children and youth in Cameroon and other poor countries in Africa. These countries have few schools, and few families can afford them. There are  those in Cameroon who attempt to persuade the refugees to join Islam and become crooks and fighters. Clovis and friends have started a foundation to help educate, feed and protect these refugees, as well as to provide clean water in rural villages and to provide health care. His ultimate dream is to provide elementary schooling in Africa for the poor children, and to partner with Patterson School Foundation to bring them to the NC Campus and provide the secondary training so that these current refugees can move on to college and return to CAR to rebuild CAR, and other African nations. Clovis’ foundation is called The Sango Center, and you can read more at