From July, 2011

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We’re Only Getting Stronger! (The Farm Weekly Update)

The rain & heat may not be on our side, but we are only getting stronger as a result of the challenges we have faced this year.

With the weather conditions so far out of our control, we truly realize that we must leave things in God’s hands and trust all things are working for good.  We can do (& have done) all the preparation in the world, put all the seeds in the ground, watered like crazy, and yet, we are completely dependent on our Creator for our provision.

With weather conditions as bad as they have been in over 75 years, we know that if we can make it through this we can make it through anything.  The week ahead looks like it will be the hottest so far this season, so we are praying for some additional afternoon pop-up storms to provide some temporary relief.

However, in all things, we are thankful for our many blessings.

Gary’s Weekly Update

Weather Update

The weather continues to be brutal & it is starting to take its toll on the tomatoes.  With night time temperatures staying close to or above 75 degrees, approximately 200 of our tomato plants have shown a significant slow down in fruit production.

The ground where we will plant fall crops is prepared and ready; however, we need some relief from the heat before we can plant.  Since these are fall crops, this heat will kill these more delicate plants if we plant in weather conditions like we have now.

However, not all is lost as we have a significant amount of broccoli and cabbage plants that are getting their start at Matkin’s Greenhouse in Bentonville.  Without this help, we would be at a significant disadvantage for fall crop progress.  So, we are just watching the weather and then we will be planting fall crops with a vengeance.

Special thanks to Joe Pennington of Channel 5 News (KFSM) for his help to The Farm for assisting with weather patterns and forecasts.  His expertise and exposure is helping to direct our efforts to fight the heat and prepare for fall.  Take a few minutes to say thanks to Joe over on his Facebook Page & follow his weather blog for great info.

Crop, Harvest, Planting, & Hunger Relief Update

With the loss of 30 rows of corn last week, harvest amounts this week were much lower.

This week we harvested 250 pounds of food from The Farm with 42  pounds going to hunger relief to meet Gift Card needs.  This brings our season to date harvest to 4,827 pounds with 47% (or 2,266 pounds) of the total harvest being given to local hunger relief in Northwest Arkansas.

Over the coming month we expect harvest amounts to slow down & affect our ability to provide food towards hunger relief.  However, with some early August relief, we will placing all bets on a very large and bumper fall crop to provide to the hungry in our community.  This week we did plant an additional 7 rows of corn, so we are hoping for a solid harvest in approximately 90 days (mid-October).

Egg production slowed down a little because of a new environment in place by adding the new hens last week.  We are expecting it will be another two weeks before we are back to maximum production (weather isn’t helping).  Over the coming two weeks we will be expanding the number of hens again in order to make up some ground on hunger relief efforts due to the loss of corn.

Our Incredible Community

We are so truly grateful for our NW Arkansas community and their consistent dedication to supporting The Farm!  We could not do it without you.

Fellowship College Students

Another week as passed and the student of Fellowship College Ministry continue to work week after week to support the needs of The Farm.  They have truly been a gift from above and their labor is not in vain as it has saved so much of the harvest from additional loss.  They were the ones that planted the new rows of corn & without their help we are not sure where we would be.

Faces of The Farm – Stephanie Youngmeyer

Special thanks to Stephanie for serving out at The Farm with her daughters this past week.  We love it when families are able to serve together & they were big help in Friday’s Harvest to prepare for Gift Card Donations & Harvest Share distribution.

Faces of Farm – West Ark Church of Christ

We had the gift of hosting West Ark Church of Christ Fort Smith at The Farm this week, and we are thankful for their effort to make the drive and serve the region.

Thanks Northwest Arkansas Community for all you have done and if you would like more information on ways you can plug into The Farm, please visit our posted volunteer opportunities or email TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

Until next week!

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Restored

What a privilege it is to share that the need of water for a single mom that we shared yesterday has not only been funded, but the work was completed today!  We are truly thankful to Allied Plumbing for putting it at the top of their to-do list and for braving the heat to restore water to “Mary.”


Here is a quick recap of today from Mark & Tiffany (Siloam Springs Laundry Love Coordinators)…

Today we had the joy of seeing the second half of the miracle take place.

We are still amazed that yesterday (in 8 hours) the total repair cost was raised to help our dear friend restore clean water for her family.

In the blistering heat the plumbing crew gave “Mary” both clean water and an unforgettable message that she is loved and valued by our community.

Here are some pictures from the repair work, and you can clearly see the damage to the water line & the root that had caused the problem.

As we watched the repairs together, her hope was being renewed with each new section of pipe.  She leaned over to me, and she looked with grateful eyes to simply say…

“I have no words, THANK YOU!”


To all of those that made this possible, we could not be more grateful.  You demonstrated your love for those that are the most vulnerable in our community, and you have restored hope.  Grace & peace to you and your families.

Our Northwest Arkansas community continues to demonstrate the true extent of their love in so many ways.  We are honored to be able to watch this story unfold, and regardless of whatever difficulty may lie ahead we will always be know by our love.

May God continue to bless.

 

 

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Without Water in NW Arkansas…the Need of a Single Mom (NEED MET!)

We are overwhelmed with joy to report that this need HAS BEEN MET!  In just 8 short hours, $1,200 was donated & the plumbers will start repair work TOMORROW!

We will have photos to show progress & let you know once it has been completed.

Thank you Northwest Arkansas!  You made an incredible and eternal difference in the life of this mom & her children.  We are just humbled & honored to be able to participate in this story of renewal.


We don’t do this very often, but from time to time we come across stories of people in our community who need our help.  The people involved in Cobblestone Project have always come to the aid of those with the greatest needed, so today we would like to share a story of great need to ask for your help.

This is from Mark & Tiffany, Siloam Springs Laundry Love Coordinators…

A little over a year ago we met a lady we will call “Mary” at Siloam Springs Laundry Love Project.  That night she was the mother of an adorable little girl, and the soon to be mom of coming twins.

Our little community at Soap Opera Laundry on South Lincoln Street threw an impromptu baby shower for Mary, and over the past year we have come to love and appreciate Mary in a great way.  In a short of amount of time we began our journey of lasting friendship, love, and learning of her life.

As a single-mom, Mary struggles to make her limited income cover the expenses of her growing family to include a young daughter and twins that are now less than a year old.

She lives in a mobile home in Siloam Springs on land that she owns, and just recently she discovered a problem in the plumbing line between her house and the street.  Due to the problem the water became contaminated and had to be turned off.

The cost to repair the issue is almost more than she would make in two months, and she now lives with the burden of not having access to clean water at her house.

We’ve contacted Allied Plumbing come out to take a look and it appears she will need to replace the line from her house to the street (tree roots creating problems).

The estimated cost is $1,200 with a substantial discount from Allied Plumbing (click to see estimate).

As her community we are seeking to do what we can to restore this basic need, in hopes that someone will either donate their plumbing services or we can raise the money to cover the repairs.

If you are able to help meet this need you may

  1. Donate towards cost of repairs via the Cobblestone Project Store:  Water Repairs for Mary (all donations are tax deductible).
  2. Purchase/Donate Needed Materials.
  3. Donate your time & expertise to repair the water line.

If we are able to raise the needed funds, we will provide follow up documentation & pictures of the completed work.

Any questions may be directed to info@CobblestoneProject.org or (479) 553-9005.

Andy Pruit & Team at Farm

An amazing community! (The Farm Weekly Update)

We probably sound like a broken record at this point, but the weather isn’t changing.

It has been a rough week at The Farm as we’ve had to face some hard realities & try to adjust plans to meet our goals for the season.

However, we have so very much to be thankful for, and, while this has not been an easy season, we know that it is making us stronger & wiser for future years.  If this is the worst it has been since the 1930′s, then we will know that we have made it through the hardest of times.

The Farm Weekly Update

Weather & Crop Update

We have now gone almost 8 weeks without any measurable rainfall at The Farm, and while we are irrigating non-stop the conditions are finally taking their toll.  As you can see from this graphic from Channel 5 News, June and July rain fall has been way below normal after flooding in April & May.

As a result, we have called approximately 30 rows of corn a complete loss.  We estimate that this would have produced over 8,000 ears of corn.  This was a crop that would have largely been used for hunger relief efforts, so the loss hits on two fronts for The Farm.

However, we have not given up and we are going to be planting another round of corn on Tuesday as a last attempt to produce some much needed corn.  The okra, tomatoes, and squash all continue to produce; however, without some relief from the heat we may see these start to fail as well.  We are pulling out all stops to try and prevent having a week with no harvest, and with some rain and heat relief we’ll make it.

We are adjusting plans to significantly expand the fall planting that will take place in the coming weeks, and if we have some relief from the heat our prayers are for a very large fall crop to try and salvage our failed summer crops.

Harvest, Planting & Hunger Relief Update

Harvest amounts this week were expectedly higher as we harvested the remaining potatoes.  Unfortunately, we estimate that we lost approximately 20% of our potato harvest due to heat.  We expected to begin harvesting corn this week; however, with the corn loses the next month’s harvest will slow down significantly.  We are praying fall comes early to The Farm.

This week we harvested 822 pounds of food from The Farm with 668 pounds going to hunger relief.  This brings our season to date harvest to 4,577 pounds with 49% (or 2,224 pounds) of the total harvest being given to local hunger relief in Northwest Arkansas.  Additional, we have harvested 589 eggs this season and have been able to donate 44% of those eggs to local hunger relief.

Poultry Project Update

In order to offset the corn losses, we are planning to increase the number of hens at The Farm over the next two weeks to produce additional eggs that we can use to replace the lost crops.  We had not originally planned on being so dependent upon the eggs, but at this point in the season we are truly grateful that our efforts have been diversified enough to give us other options.

Stay tuned for more information.

Our Incredible Community

In a season of incredibly difficult weather, the one thing that has been consistent is the presence of our community in this initiative.  The people who have given of their time and energy week after week are the backbone of this project.  Without all of your efforts, we would not be where we are today.  You have given much, and we are truly grateful.

Life Harvester Church

This week we had the opportunity to host Life Harvester Church at The Farm.  Their Eagle’s Camp leadership and character development summer camp spent the morning with us learning what it means to serve their community.

Pole Barn

We also began work on the concrete footers for the pole barn at will serve as our produce processing and storage facility at The Farm.  We could not have done this without help from Andy Pruitt of Garver Engineering and team who gave their Friday & Saturday to set the footings.  We have a beautiful story to tell and we will share it all together once the final install is completed.

 

Thanks Northwest Arkansas Community for all you have done and if you would like more information on ways you can plug into The Farm, please visit our posted volunteer opportunities or email TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

Until next week!

 

Overflow of Joplin Donations Benefiting NW Arkansas

Thanks to Thirst No More & Calvary Baptist Church of Joplin, Northwest Arkansas is receiving the benefit of overflowing donations that had been sent to Joplin immediately after the tornado.

Craig Miller, Executive Director of Thirst No More & Disaster Relief Coordinator for Calvary Baptist Church in Joplin, contacted Cobblestone Project last week to ask if we could help direct some overflowing donations they had received and could not find a place for in Joplin.

Brad Melton took at flatbed trailer to Calvary Baptist and receive two pallets of baby formula that was delivered to Samaritan Community Center in Rogers as a temporary distribution point for Northwest Arkansas.

Shannon Green, Samaritan Community Center Market Coordinator, contacted Teen Action & Support Center, Loving Choices, and the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter to see if they want to come collect any of it.

After this initial distribution, Thirst No More & Brad Melton also helped to coordinate a delivery of diapers, water, toothbrushes, and more formula to local Northwest Arkansas agencies.

Again, huge thanks to Thirst No More & they have done for both Joplin and Northwest Arkansas.

Being the Farmer is Tough (The Farm Weekly Update)

It probably doesn’t come to any great surprise that the weather continues to be the biggest challenge at The Farm; however, we are continuing to manage through it as best as possible.  This was a busy week at The Farm and we had the opportunity to accomplish a couple very important milestones.

The Farm Weekly Update

Weather Update

The weather conditions are affecting small farmers all over Northwest Arkansas, and we had the opportunity to share a little of the impact on The Farm with 40/29 News.

40/29 TV Report: Rain Doesn’t Help Farmers

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Services Update

We also had the opportunity to collect some information from one of The Farm’s closest advisers, Mark Bray of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Services.  We would encourage you to take a few minutes to read his update that we posted on the Cobblestone Project Farm website earlier this week.  He shares some statistics of historical weather patterns to show just how extreme this season has become.

Feast or Famine…Flooding or Droughts (by Mark Bray)

Harvest & Hunger Relief

On the positive side of things we continue to harvest significant amounts of produce from The Farm as we irrigate like crazy to try and keep summer crops on schedule.

This week we harvested 673 pounds of food from The Farm with 296 pounds going to local hunger relief via the Samaritan Community Center.  This brings our season to date harvest to 3,755 pounds with 41% of the total harvest being given to local hunger relief in Northwest Arkansas.

While we are a little behind on donations to hunger relief, the good news is we have approximately 2,000 lbs of food in the ground that just needs to be harvested and delivered to local hunger relief  partners.  We had planned on doing that Saturday; however, with the intense heat, we did not have the volunteers necessary to harvest the food.  We fully expect to harvest this food during this week and that should bring our hunger relief donations back in line.

Poultry Project Update

We made some significant progress this week in upgrading our poultry house to use solar powered lights to provide the 17 hours of light needed each day to gain maximum egg production.  A huge thank you to Flint Richter of the Rocky Grove Sun Company (love that name) for installing all of the equipment on the houses.  He was able to ensure we continue to have a zero-impact poultry project in place saving us money on electricity, and allowing us to increase egg production that we can then provide to our hunger relief efforts.    This is an incredible example of how our sustainability and hunger relief platforms are empowering each other.  Thanks Flint!

This week we also were able to retrofit some of the existing hen houses to combine them into a large house that will allow us to almost double the number of hens we have at The Farm.  Obviously, this should also double the number of eggs the hens are able to produce.  In order to ensure the houses were retrofitted correctly, we were able to partner with Seven Hills Homeless Center’s Job Assistance Program to hire two skilled carpenter’s (pictured at right with Gary).

Here’s a quick video of Carolina (our University of Arkansas Student Project Adviser) explaining all that we were able to accomplish.

Community Involvement

And, of course, nothing would be happening at The Farm without all of the incredible people who come out each week to lend their hands and backs to do all the crop maintenance, irrigation, planting, and harvesting.  These are some incredible people who work tirelessly every week out of the abundance of their desire to serve Northwest Arkansas.

We had an opportunity to meet Jerry and Krista Clark who moved to Northwest Arkansas from San Diego, plugged in to New Heights Church, and made it a top priority to engage in serving this community and their new home.  Here is a little of their story.

Week after week the students of Fellowship Bible Church’s Collegiate Student Ministry continue to come out to The Farm and work tirelessly to meet the demands of The Farm.  We can not express how grateful we are for their continued week after week investment.  It’s this type of consistency that allows us to plan efficiently the week’s work, and have peace of mind that our efforts will not be in vain.  Here’s a quick video of them from last week.

As you can see if was a crazy busy week and we desperately need some relief from the heat and lack of rain.  We will continue to tirelessly work the fields and leave the heat and rain to the One who is truly in control of the harvest.

Thanks Northwest Arkansas Community and if you would like more information on ways you can plug into The Farm, please visit our posted volunteer opportunities or email TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

Until next week!

Garden_Hose

Feast or Famine…Flooding or Droughts

We asked Mark Bray, our adviser from University of Arkansas Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, to give us a little perspective on this seasons weather.

From Mark…

Fayetteville weather data tells an interesting “feast or famine” story of vegetable production.

  • April average temperatures were slightly higher than normal while April rainfall total was 15.28″; which is 10.95″ more than normal for the month (you may recall the flood on the 24th-25th when we got 7 of those inches).
  • May average temperatures were lower than normal while May rainfall was high at 11.50″; which is 6.44″ above normal for the month.
  • To sum up April-May conditions, we had an extended cool, wet spring; which is generally better for early spring crops.  If you recall we had a bumper broccoli crop, as well as cabbage!  This is the feast portion of the story.

However, with June came famine, and it came with a vengeance.

  • June average temperatures were 4.9 degrees F above normal with 20 days above 90 degrees F.  To make growing conditions for plants even harsher, we only received .97″ of rainfall; which is 4.29″ less than normal for the month.
  • So far July has offered no relief.  Sixteen of the previous 17 days have had +90 degrees F temp.  Additionally, temps thus far are above avg by 5.2 degrees F.  So far we’ve had .59″ rainfall which is 1.37″ less than  normal.
  • As we’ve seen, many crops are simply not growing in this heat.  It’s all they can do to stay alive…much less produce fruit. Tomatoes, peppers, and beans are failing to set fruit due to above normal night time temps.

When plants fail to set fruit, the flowers just fall to the ground.  Unfortunately, the weather forecast offers little hope of relief of crop stress due to heat and drought.

If this report on the weather seems discouraging, this is how it feels to “be the farmer…”

As you can see it’s been a tough season so far on the weather side.  However, we are continuing to manage through flood and no rains and we could not do it without all of the volunteers and partners who continue to come and give of their time and resources to ensure The Farm continues to move forward.

We will continuing irrigation to help with the lack of water; however, we need the temperatures to come down to ensure that our summer crops have a chance to get a good start on fruit/crop production.

If you would like more information on how you can help with The Farm, please email TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

The Farm - SS FCA

No rain but much joy (The Farm Weekly Update)

We are now closing in six weeks without any significant rainfall, and it’s taking it’s toll on the crops.  We are irrigating around the clock, but we just don’t have the infrastructure in place to keep up with the demand of the plants.

Harvest & Hunger Relief

This past week we harvested almost 687 pounds of the food to include: 79 pounds of cabbage, 468 pounds of potatoes, 42 pounds of tomatoes, 3 pounds of peppers, 68 pounds of squash, 28 pounds of okra & harvested 180 eggs. Hunger Relief donations this week went to Samaritan Community Center.

Season to date we have harvested 3,082 lbs of food from The Farm with 41% of that food to Hunger Relief (please note: Harvest Share vs Hunger Relief will vary week by week as mid-week harvests & eggs are going towards hunger relief efforts).

Special thanks to all of those that came out and served at The Farm this week to include…

Siloam Springs Fellowship of Christian Athletes serving at The Farm

Special thanks for the Siloam Springs chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes for helping with the harvest this past week.  The joy you see if this picture people is just a small look into the joy they shared at The Farm.  Thanks so much and we were inspired by your faith and actions.

WorkMatters Kairos College Ministry Serves at The Farm this week

We are honored that WorkMatters Kairos College Ministry would come out and spend a few hours at The Farm as they continue their summer long mentoring program learning what it means to develop leadership through serving our community.  Great group of people and an incredibly valuable to this next generation of leaders.


We have Bees!!!

Huge thank you to Sol Parker, a local organic beekeeper (http://parkerfarms.blogspot.com) and friend from New Heights Church, for bringing  bee hives out to The Farm.  The bees will be good for pollination services & we may enjoy a little bit of honey this year as a result.

Faces of The Farm – Matkins Flowers & Greenhouse

Our friends at Matkins Flowers & Greenhouse have been a friend to The Farm for the past two season and we are truly grateful for all they have done to provide The Farm with seedlings and greenhouse services.  Gary had an opportunity to talk with Jeff about some of the preparation they are doing to get us set for the upcoming fall planting.

The Farm’s Newly Installed Irrigation Tape Dispenser

Big thank you to the students from Fellowship Bible Church for installing this high speed irrigation tape dispenser.  It say us literally hundreds of seconds.  Take a look.

There are many ways that you can participate with the efforts of The Farm & we invite you to come out and see for yourself all that is taking place at The Farm.  We have regularly schedule service days posted on our volunteer page or send us an email (TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org) and we can schedule a special time for your business, church or civic group to come out to The Farm.

If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved with The Farm, please visit the Volunteer Page for dates or email TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

Drum Roll Please! (new announcement!)

3 Bags in 2 Days is proud to announce a “back to school” opportunity that has come up for us!   We will be partnering with First United Methodist Church and Samaritan’s Feet to help provide kids in the Bentonville School District with school supplies, shoes and hygiene items! They will be supplying 350 students [...]

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