By Cobblestone Project

Special Matching Grant Opportunity

Announcing a Matching Grant!

Cobblestone Project strives to create a community without need. We believe that bringing dignity to others in our community in basic ways is a step in the right direction. Giving our time and resources to our neighbors allows us to connect on a personal level with individuals who have a story to share.

I am happy to say that through your generous contributions we did receive our “End of the Year Match Donation” of  $10,000. This incredible opportunity  allowed each of our supporters to double their impact and is daily continuing to help us bring dignity to our NW Arkansas Community. This fundraiser was fully funded and your gift was matched dollar for dollar.

YOU helped us reach that goal and enabled us to continue to serve the needs of those living below the poverty line in Northwest Arkansas. 

 

Cobblestone Project offers support, encouragement and manpower to initiatives such as Laundry of Love3 Bags in 2 Days, Art in the Park and Our Step.

The dream of the Cobblestone Project is to work towards “A Community without Need” –this dream is likely considered unachievable. However, when our idea of community is redefined by the true needs of our neighbors, our hearts are stirred toward action. 

Help-Portrait NWA 2012 Senior Session

For many of us our senior year of high school is all about planning a senior trip, getting your senior photos taken, no longer worrying about our ACT score and anticipating the exciting future on the horizon.

For others, their senior year is full of worries and stresses, usually things that young adults shouldn’t have on their shoulders.

Help-Portrait NWA longs to assist the latter group with the gift of photography by giving them a glimmer of hope and self worth through photos.

On April 28, Help-Portrait NWA had the privilege of working with several high school students. With 2 locations set up in NWA we photographed 20 students and hopefully restored a sense hope and even if just for that day allowed the students to be free of whatever worries they have. It was a wonderful day and as Austin Waters summed it up “It was narly!”

I saw students that day that probably did not think having senior photos was even possible…Help-Portrait NWA made it possible! Not only were photos taken and smiles shared, but these students touched our hearts as we hopefully did theirs.

As we wrapped up the event on April 28, I was left astonished once again at the thought that while all of our volunteers gave such a wonderful gift to our students, the students had also given us a gift! A powerful lesson of love, humility and graciousness is there for all to learn who participate.

Help-Portrait is not just about photos…It’s about hope. It is about showing people that good is still out there and people do care. Everyone is worth loving and being loved…that is what Help-Portrait is to me. I am not a photographer or editor but I am a person and I do have love…and that I can and will give.

Help-Portrait NWA has a spot for everyone, if you want to help give people hope and build their confidence we have a spot for you!

It’s Harvest Time at The Farm!!!

It’s hard to believe it, but we are finally harvesting and distributing food from The Farm!!!

We’ve come a long way this season & have a long way to go, but we have finally begun to see the literal fruit of our community’s labor.

We are so thankful and so proud of everyone who has made this possible.

You have all made this happen and it is because of all of those who have spent countless hours at The Farm that we can celebrate Harvest time is finally here!

Our Amazing Community

We are super thankful for everyone that joined us this week at The Farm for Harvest, planting, maintenance and the 1,000 other things we needed to accomplish.

We are especially thankful for the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership group who brought over 60 students out to The Farm last weekend.  They accomplished so much for us and truly moved the needle on our work to date at The Farm.

They planted, helped with harvest, planted 150 pounds of sweet potatoes, and made our lives at The Farm a whole lot easier.  Thank you amazing people!

We are also always thankful for our littlest Farmers who help show us that life isn’t always about what we accomplish, but more about who we are and just being present.

Production Update

A whole lot happening this part of the year at The Farm.  We were able to plant 150 blueberry plants which will produce a whole lot of fruit next season, but the blackberries are coming in very strong and we should have those to share in another couple of weeks.

We also wanted to share quick video on how our produce processing work. There’s a whole lot of work that goes on outside of most people’s view, but we want you to know that we are taking all the necessary steps.

Additionally, we were able to plant 150 pounds of sweet potatoes and we have a whole lot of green tomatoes.  Broccoli slowed down a little because of the heat this past week, but we should be ready soon.  The onions and salad greens are doing great.  Unfortunately, we had bug issues with the squash.  Fortunately, it was early enough to reset those and work towards a great crop for rest of season.

Project 7 Blueberries

We had the privilege of planting the 150 blueberry plants this past Saturday that we received as a part of Project 7′s Save The Earth Campaign during Earth Day.  These blueberries will provide a great source of incredibly healthy food to our hunger relief efforts next year, so we are extremely thankful to our friends at Project 7 for their investment into the vision of The Farm.  And thanks to all of those who participated in their campaign, it’s fun to see the direct impact to our community based on your efforts.

Harvest Share Members

This week we distributed our first food from The Farm to our Harvest Share subscribers & so far it seems the results are great.  We’ve heard lots of stories of yummy meals & excitement to know where their food has come from.

Special thanks to our incredible Farmer’s Market team this week that was run by Jeff Melton, Anita Rausch and Mark Casey.  Huge thanks to Hannah at The Farm for making things go as smoothly as they could.

Everyone should have received their weekly update by now, but if you haven’t please let us know at TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

It’s Spring Harvest Time!

This week we will begin the work of harvesting the first spring crops & begin food distribution.

It’s a busy and exciting time at The Farm & the fruits of everyone’s labor is finally being seen.

We could use a little rain, but there is some in the forecast for this week. We have a lot of seeds in the ground that just need a little water to get them moving.

Our Amazing Community

Special thanks to everyone who helped at The Farm this week.  It’s so great to see so many familiar faces & meet new ones.

The World Gym of Northwest Arkansas Volunteer Squad & their families came out on Saturday to help & they were so much fun!

I even think a few of the kids at The Farm even were lucky enough to get some tractor rides!  The New Holland tractor from William’s Tractor continues to make The Farm a better place.

The Farm team took a break on Thursday to join our friends at the Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville Community Meal (somewhere we donate food to during the season), and were reminded just how incredible they truly are.  Glenn Miller took some time to give us an update on the needs they are seeing every week & then the following day he brought a group out to The Farm to help cultivate the crops.  It’s so amazing to being able to help each other & we are truly grateful for our friends at CUMC.

Our friends at Walmart continue to humble us as so many groups from so many different divisions continue to invest their time in The Farm showing us that they truly are committed to “Fighting Hunger Together.”  We were thankful to have friends within Walmart ISD come out to The Farm again on Friday!  Amazing company and amazing people!

Production Update

We started initial preparation to plant the blueberries we’ll be receiving as a part of the Project 7 Earth Day Celebration partnership.  We have 150 blueberry bushes on the way that will benefit the Northwest Arkansas community and our Hunger Relief Efforts.  We love the direct impact that Project 7 is making in Northwest Arkansas.

The blackberries are starting to come in very well & we hope to be able to have enough to include in our Hunger Relief and Harvest Share Subscriptions!

We are planting a whole lot of flowers this season!  Not only do they make The Farm looking amazing, but they really help to keep the bees in the field for pollination and erosion control between rows.  We had some little fingers help us get them ready for planting!

Sustainability

We were thankful to have a number of students from Dr. Jennie Popp’sFundamental’s of Sustainability” class at The Farm on Saturday.  They help with cultivation and also were able to see how The Farm serves as a “managed system for agriculture.”

Farm Operations

Well…it’s not always great at The Farm & this Saturday it looks like our Farmer’s Market “Freedom” Van has finally died.  We’ll be in need of another transportation and delivery vehicle, but until them we will just be thankful that it lasted as long as it did.

Visit The Farm

We are so encouraged every week and the number of people that come to add their hands and hearts to the vision of The Farm.  We know that without our Northwest Arkansas community, none of this would be happening.  You’re an incredible inspiration & you’re making an incredible difference in the lives of so many.

Thank you & upcoming farm service opportunities can be found online or we can coordinate times during the week via emailing us at TheFarm@CobblestonProject.org

 

 

Spring Harvest Approaches

The Farm is quickly approaching our spring harvest period & with another great week of weather forecasted we plan to begin harvesting the middle of next week!

We have been a flurry of activity as April & May are truly some of our busiest months of the season.  We’ve been sharing our story, planting, installing final pieces for harvest and produce processing, building new buildings, and dodging the rain. However, you can see the hope and joy in the Farm team’s eyes even if there are a bit dirty.

Thank you for all of the encouragement and help that have been given.  We have some beautiful stories to share this week.

Community

Energy Corps

We had the privilege of having the Arkansas Energy Corps at The Farm to establish a composting system that will hopefully serve as a West Fayetteville site for the community to drop off organic materials.  It should be a great service to the community and a great service to The Farm.  Truly thankful for the Energy Corps and especially for Gary and Hannah who also serve as Arkansas Energy Corps members.

Fayetteville Public Library “Green Series”

Last week the Fayetteville Public Library hosted an informational series on home gardening & canning at Hannah Campbell was asked to participate.

(photo credit:  Grace Gude)

Hannah spoke about efficient & sustainable ways to create a healthy garden at home.  This included suggestions of composting leftover food and debris from mowing/weeding to help enrich their soil,  to recycle rain water to water their plants thus reducing water usage, and easy tips, like tilling the area thoroughly to bring up untouched nutrients from the earth to enrich their soil.  And, of course, encouraged everyone to come and volunteer at the Farm to not only get helpful  gardening experience and see how a large scale farm works, but to be a part of our movement and help out our neighbors in NW Arkansas who don’t have access to grow their own food.

Churches & Families

Huge thank you for the continued support of so many from Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville.  Central United Methodist is an incredible faith community who have invested a lot of energy into The Farm and it allows us to significantly increase the amount of food that we are able to then return to them for their Community Meals Program that takes place every Tuesday and Thursday for the hunger, homeless, poor and beautiful people in our community.

Production Update

Over the past two weeks, we have continued to plant more and more and ensure that all the proper maintenance is being done to produce a great spring crop.

The high tunnel is producing some incredible salads mixes for our spring harvest & we are ready to begin harvesting in the coming days.

We have also planted over 400 tomato plants & with the incredible weather we’ve been having we are beginning to see fruit on the vines.  Let’s hope it holds and we have a great season of tomatoes (especially after last year’s challenges).

We are very thankful to finally have the produce cooler installed at The Farm to help us improve the quality of the produce that we will be distributing this season.  This is a huge step from last year & we are thankful to Greg Primm for making it possible!

Harvest Share Subscribers

Spring has been good to us and we are looking at Saturday, May 7th as the first lug distribution for Harvest Share subscribers.  The first week’s harvest is looking like it will be delicious fresh salad of lettuces, spring mix, radishes, kale, various herbs & working to have farm fresh eggs as well.

Thank you to all of our subscribers as we are sold out for the second season in a row!  The income from the selling of share allows us to fund the operational costs of The Farm & provide a whole lot of food away to our our community.

More information will be send out directly to Harvest Share subscribers next week in prep for 1st distribution.

Thank You

As always, we are incredibly thankful to our community for your support.  The Farm does not work without out!  It’s a beautiful time of the year to be at The Farm, so we invite you to come join us on an upcoming Saturday or send us an email (TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org) to coordinate a time during the week!

 

Celebrating Earth Day with Project 7

Thursday, April 19th is Earth Day & the Cobblestone Project is partnering with Project 7 to “Save the Earth” by planting fruit trees that will provide food for families in Northwest Arkansas.

Project 7 has teamed up with Walmart, Caribou Coffee, and other retailers to plant 2 million fruit trees back into the earth through the sale of their “Save the Earth” products.

2 million trees that will combat deforestation, fight erosion, provide oxygen, add moisture to the air, and provide food for families.

The great news is that some of those fruit “trees” will be donated to the Cobblestone Project Farm in Fayetteville to help in our Northwest Arkansas Community!

This week for every new “like” on Project 7′s Facebook page and every new follower on Project 7′s Twitter account, they will donate additional funds to one of their “Save the Earth” partners and plant more trees.

The Impact

The great news is that some of those fruit “trees” will be donated to the Cobblestone Project Farm in Fayetteville to help in our Northwest Arkansas Community!

Project 7 will be providing approximately 150 blueberry bushes or two 300 foot rows of blueberries to The Farm.  That’s a whole lot of blueberries!!!

These blueberries will provide much needed fruit that will be directed towards feeding families at risk for food insecurity in our community for years to come.

And as an added bonus, blueberries have many nutritional benefits that include being packed with Vitamin C, high in dietary fiber, and leading fruit in antioxidant.

How You Can Help

To help provide those blueberry bushes to The Farm, we would ask that you “like” Project 7 on Facebook and/or follow Project 7 on Twitter.

We will be working with Project 7 over the next few weeks to plant those blueberry bushes at The Farm, so there are also opportunities to come out to The Farm to help put them in the ground (more info coming).

You can also share this with your friends with a simple post like…

Twitter:  In honor of #EarthDay, @Project7 will plant a tree back into the earth for every new twitter follower & facebook like. Let’s #SaveTheEarth!

Facebook: Our friends at Project 7 will plant a tree back into the earth for every new twitter “follower” and Facebook “like.” Go like and share!

About Project 7

Project 7 exists to do good around the globe. They make everyday products like bottled water, gum, mints and coffee that give back to seven areas of good.

Purchases Feed the HungryHeal the SickHope for PeaceHouse the HomelessQuench the ThirstyTeach them Well and Save the Earth.

Check them out at Project7.com.

Summer Planting Starting!

Activities at The Farm are right on schedule & with the incredible weather we have been experiencing we are expecting a great harvest in the coming weeks.  We’ve starting planting some of our summer crops to include tomatoes, okra, bush beans, and peas. Our Spring crops are doing great to include lots of potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, salad greens, spinach, and lots of herbs.

We are preparing for the first Bentonville Farmer’s Market of the year (last week of April) & hope you’ll plan on coming out to see us on opening day.

Our current production schedule is working towards May 5th as first distribution of Harvest Share Subscriptions (still a few available), and we will have more info out to subscribers as that time comes.

Weekly Farm Update

Our Community

Nothing happens at The Farm without the hands & feet of our community.  So many people continue to give their time & energy to seeing The Farm move forward, and we wanted to share a few of those many faces with you.

Anita Rausch

Diane, Emma & Nora

Our Farm Operations Team (Welcome Baldwin!)

Nick & Brad

Helene, Megan & Leslie

Will aka “The Deer Handler”

 

Harvest Share Subscriptions Still Available

There are a few remaining Harvest Share subscriptions that will be available until first harvest (expected to be May 5th).

One Farm subscription purchase simultaneously provides a season’s worth of healthy food for your family and for your neighbors in need – the people in your own back yard, the ones you may never have met but care for deeply.

By simply buying fresh, homegrown goodness for your family from The Farm, you can plant seeds of compassion and grow positive change in Northwest Arkansas.

Harvest Shares are available for $500 (prepaid) or via 6 monthly installments of $90 each (total $540).

For more information, please visit our Harvest Share Subscription page or email TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

Volunteering at The Farm

There are opportunities every Saturday from 9am to 1pm to come out to The Farm and put your hands into the dirt.

It’s a great time of the year to be outside & it promises to be an opportunity for your family to serve together, play in the dirt & contribute towards helping those at risk for food insecurity in our community.

Our calendar page shows all the available dates & we can schedule groups during the week.

“30 Days 4 Change” Student Teams are on their way…

April 1st was the kick off of the 2012 Campaign for “30 Days 4 Change” an initiative designed to engage students ideas with new approaches to addressing community needs.

The 5 student groups are paired with 5 Northwest Arkansas Nonprofits that include Samaritan Community Center, 7 Hills Homeless Center, Lifesource International, Saving Grace & 99 Balloons.  Each student group is charged with developing an action plan to address some of the organizational needs.

Today was the regroup of week 1 for 30D4C, and we had an opportunity to get a quick look at the work that is underway.

We’ll be posting periodic updates over the next 3 weeks, and you can also follow along with 30D4C at

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30 Days 4 Change 2012 Campaign Begins Now!

On April 1st, Bentonville High School Students Kick off the first “30 Days 4 Change” campaign targeted at making a positive difference in our community!

30 Days 4 Change is designed to…

  • Engage students to inspire new ideas and new approaches to community needs.
  • Expose nonprofit organizations to a new generation who desire to make positive change.
  • Provide opportunities for ideas to be replicated by other nonprofit organizations.

Groups have been paired with a Northwest Arkansas Nonprofit Organization addressing poverty related issues and have from April 1st to April 30th to work towards tangible change, awareness, advocacy, and solutions.

At the end of 30 days, the student groups will be evaluated by a panel of regional poverty and educational experts to determine which organizations campaign was moved furthest forward.  As a result of the students efforts, that organization will be awarded a $1,000 “30 Days 4 Change” capacity building grant.

Students will be evaluated based on…

  • Alignment: Initiative Alignment to NonProfit Organizational Mission.
  • Measured Impact: Initiative Measured Impact to original Initiative Scope.
  • Replication: Initiative’s Ability to be Replicated by other Organizations & Student Groups
  • NonProfit Evaluation: Evaluation of Students Ability to Work Together as a Team.

You may follow the progress of the “30 Days 4 Change Campaign” at…

2012 Partner Organizations & Campaign Scope

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30D4C Group 1

Partner Organization: 99 Balloons

Team Members:

Organizations stated need for 30 Days 4 Change: Recruit volunteers to serve at rEcess & raising funds to pay for shipping wheelchairs to Ukraine for special needs children.

Students Mission: To raise money for shipping wheelchairs to Urkaine & recruiting volunteers for rEcess.

How does 30D4C support organizations mission? Volunteers are backbone of rEcess & as the program grows, more volunteers will be needed to support special needs families in Northwest Arkansas. Additionally, there is a need for wheelchairs to support a 99 Balloons Ukraine project.

Desired end results of 30D4C: Raise minimum $750 to cover cost of shipping & recruit volunteers.

How will 30D4C effort/impact be measured? By raising the required money and having volunteers sign up to serve.

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30D4C Group 2

Partner Organization: Samaritan Community Center

Team Name: Minoriteam

Team Members:

  • Ashley Worthey*
  • Mallory Cibulka
  • Lindsey Martin
  • Mason Jones
  • Diane Wang
  • Blake Basham
  • Matt Phelan

Organizations stated need for 30 Days 4 Change: Collection of food to support Samaritan Community Center’s Food Pantry operations.

Students Mission: OCFD aka “Operation Canned Food Drive”

How does 30D4C support organizations mission? Help to provide food for those at risk for hunger in our community.

Desired end results of 30D4C: A pantry loaded with food

How will 30D4C effort/impact be measured? Students will construct a thermometer chart to keep progress of collected food to the goal.

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30D4C Group 3

Partner Organization: 7 Hills Homeless Center

Team Name: HTH

Team Members:

Organizations stated need for 30 Days 4 Change: Awareness of homelessness in Bentonville

Students Mission: We plan on organizing an event and gather people to be “homeless for a night” (sleep outside) and maybe raise money as we do.

How does 30D4C support organizations mission? This can hopefully bring awareness because it is not what you would usually see in Bentonville.

Desired end results of 30D4C: To bring awareness to Bentonville that homelessness is an issue because many 7 Hills clients are from Bentonville.

How will 30D4C effort/impact be measured? Amount of people that end up hearing about the event (awareness).

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30D4C Group 4

Partner Organization: Saving Grace

Team Members:

  • Morgan Drish*
  • Hannah Amerson
  • Morgan Jones
  • Lindsey Martin

Organizations stated need for 30 Days 4 Change: Communications & Marketing of Saving Grace’s mission in Northwest Arkansas to include: 1) Improved communication materials (i.e. brochures), 2) Marketing and spread the word , and 3) collection basic needs items for Saving Grace

Students Mission: To improve brochures and to let the women of NW Arkansas be aware of the Saving Grace home

How does 30D4C support organizations mission? Raising awareness to broaden their ministry

Desired end results of 30D4C: To distribute as may brochures as possible.

How will 30D4C effort/impact be measured? The feedback received and the number of brochures distributed.

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30D4C Group 5

Partner Organization: Lifesource International

Team Members:

  • Kelly Xia*
  • Emily Sellers
  • Shelby Thompson
  • Alex Piceror
  • Marisa Piceror

Organizations stated need for 30 Days 4 Change: Fresh foods (non canned foods) & Non perishable food such as rice or beans.

Students Mission: Our group would like to build four raised garden beds for Lifesource. We would also like to get pipes to redirect gutter water into a 55 gallon bucket.

How does 30D4C support organizations mission? By building these raised garden beds we are providing Lifesource with a source of fresh foods and vegetables. We also wanted to redirect the gutter water in a way so all the rain water would go into a bucket and that’s how they would water their plants. That way they wouldn’t have to pay for the water or the sewage afterward.

Desired end results of 30D4C: By the end of this project we want the garden beds up and running. We also would like to inform children how to grow and produce their own raised garden beds at home. So they can have fresh food at home. By the end of the project we would like to have made a great impact for Lifesource.

How will 30D4C effort/impact be measured? 1) measure our results by how much effort we have put into our project. Already we have informed our friends and family about our project and asking for donation. I have also been to Lowe’s multiple times to find the most efficient way to build our raised garden beds. We our also going to do a fundraiser at Jonny Bursco, 2) you could measure our results by how many garden beds we are able to build, 3) measure our result how much our garden beds will benefit Lifesource.

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For more information on 30 Days 4 Change, please email 30D4C@CobblestoneProject.org

…we are still planting!

The Farm is still a buzz of activity as we continue planting & planting till we can’t plant anymore.

The weather has been perfect in that we have sun on the weekends when everyone is available to come out and volunteer & rain during the weeks to get things growing as they should.

We are right on track with our production schedule & we can’t say thank you enough to our NW Arkansas Community for all they have done.  Without you, The Farm would not be possible.

Thank you so much.  We are humbled and honored for your investment with us together.

Community

We are thankful this week for a whole lot of help at The Farm.  In particular, we are thankful for Owen aka “The Potato Bug Hunter.”  Gary had fun giving Owen a little lesson on how to stop the bugs in their tracks.

The many families who come out to The Farm with their children truly make it a great place.  Nothing like dirt, open space, and the warm sun to make the children feel right at home.

And, it’s all the amazing people who both come to The Farm for the first time and those that return year after year who sit together and meet new friends and make new community.

Production

Production is right on track and this past week we planted another 500 broccoli, 500 cabbage, 36 peppers, 15 more herb varieties, and took a little risk by putting 25 tomato plants in the ground.

We also have the bees now out at The Farm and their work ahead is a lot.  So, we are glad to have bees back again this year to help pollinate the crops.  Life would not be possible without our little worker bees (literally).

It was fun to find Robin eggs scattered around The Farm’s many bird houses.  The bird houses help keep the birds close as they gobble up many of the insects that find their home on the plants.  They will be busy this year as well.  Glad they are back again this year.

Still lots of work ahead for The Farm before we harvest our first crops (hopefully the first week of May), so if you’d like to come out and spend the day with us we’d love to have you.  For more info, please see our open days at The Farm & we are happy to schedule groups during the week (email TheFarm.CobblestoneProject.org)