McDonogh began as a farm school for poor boys in 1873. In 2008, the school returned to its roots with the creation of the Roots Farm. Today, Roots occupies more than 10 acres on the north side of campus and includes an apple and pear orchard, a chicken coop and run, and beehives. Students, teachers, alumni, and parents volunteer their time to plant, tend, and harvest crops including potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers, green beans, and melons. Harvests are served in the dining hall, donated to food banks, and used for curricular projects. The farm has two barns, one that is used as a learning space and the other for equipment storage.