As so many of you know, The Cafe holds a special place in the heart of our community & those at Cobblestone Project. It is the story of how a vision for caring for our community can emerge from just about anywhere and bring many together with a single goal of caring for those without. Without the story of The Cafe, Cobblestone Project truly would not be what we all are today.
Before it was The Cafe…
Believe it or not, all of this began in the corner of a small soup and salad shop known as World Garden with a case of bananas and a simple question.
“How can we use these to benefit our community?”
Rick and Cindy Boosey, and the team at World Garden, turned that case of frozen bananas into banana bread and through it brought together a community. It was a community asking the bigger question of how can we care for the hungry in our community.
Cobblestone Project first aligned to Rick and Cindy’s efforts when Mark Horvath, founder of InvisiblePeople.tv, came to Fayetteville in the first 1,287 Stand Up & Be Counted Homeless Awareness Rally. Over the course of the next year and half, countless members of our community came to help cook on Sundays & deliver to many local nonprofit organizations. It was through these efforts and with the desire to find a more permanent source of food, The Farm began.
Moving to Samaritan Community Center
When World Garden sadly closed, we did not want this local hunger relief movement to end. We approached the Samaritan Community Center to ask if we could open up the center on Saturday’s empowered by all the efforts at World Garden. This met two needs of wanting to expand the ability of Samaritan Community Center to serve their existing clients and engage a community in serving those without. It was during this move that The Garden officially became known as The Cafe.
Over the last year and a half, The Cafe at the Samaritan Community Center has served approximately 125 people per week with a warm meal & a kind heart.
A Hero Behind it All…
There have been so many that have served to bring the vision of The Cafe alive, but there is one person who from the very beginning has committed himself in a way that is even hard to comprehend. Brad Melton has been a foundation that has been constant through the entire life of this initiative.
Brad has not only served the meals, but he has built the infrastructure to support just about every aspect of this initiative. From volunteer coordination, to scheduling cooks, finding the food, and to ensuring the stories of those beings served have been told, Brad has given and given. I believe it is safe to say that through Brad’s efforts, our community has seen a true example of what sacrificial giving truly means.
However, for Brad it isn’t just about giving, it has been about the relationship with those who humbly come every week. He has helped find them jobs, used his connections to serve Tornado victims in Joplin, found diapers for the children, and just about everything in between. Brad has “loved his neighbor” in a way that truly reflects a dedication of faith fully alive in the world today. A reflection that brings hope. Thank you will never be enough to express our gratitude to Brad. We are thankful to call him a friend, and follow his lead toward a new beginning for The Cafe.
A New Story Emerges…
Beginning January 1, 2012, the operations of The Cafe will be fully transferred over to the Samaritan Community Center. This being done in order to continue to best serve the 125+ people who are served every Saturday. The Cafe is truly core to the mission of the Samaritan Community Center, and they will now be able to fully integrate the Saturday Cafe within their framework of their weekly operations. This move will also allow Cobblestone Project to focus more fully on food production operations at The Farm (food that in part goes to The Cafe). Brad will continue within the operational leadership of The Cafe as his heart is fully with those that he has been serving and living life with over the past year and a half.
Cobblestone Project continues to partner and support the efforts of the Samaritan Community Center in many ways to include partnership within the Our Step program, food production for The Cafe, Shear Kindness and 3 Bags in 2 Days for Back to School Backpack drives, etc. This change is exciting because it allows continue role clarity and further time investment into producing food.
The Samaritan Community Center is doing amazing things and we would encourage all to take this opportunity to serve them as The Cafe moves forward.
We wanted to close with this final memory from Thanksgiving of 2009.
It’s because of the vision that original began with Rick and Cindy Boosey, that we can safely say…”we can do this everyday.”
We’d love for you to leave your comments below on what The Garden/Cafe has meant to you over the past 3 years.
It’s been an incredible week at The Farm with almost too much to capture, but here’s a quick look at everything that took place over past couple of weeks.
Gary’s Weekly Update
We are truly thankful for all of the people who serve on behalf of their company or organization during the week. This week we had the pleasure of hosting…
Friends from Walmart Finance FPMO
Together they planted over 200 tomatoes & ensured that we’ll have a steady harvest of tomato plants over the summer. It is so encouraging to participate with such a great group of people who embody their company’s dedication to supporting local agriculture and hunger relief.
Special thanks to Westwood Gardens in Fayetteville who donated the 200 tomato plants. These were tomato plants that they had extra inventory of and would have had to throw away because majority of tomato plants have already been planted for the year. However, we were able to take them and use them at The Farm. Westwood Gardens has been such a friend to The Farm this season and we are truly thankful.
Fellowship Bible Church of NW Arkansas Collegiate Ministiry
We were also thankful to have college students from Fellowship Bible Church of NW Arkansas this week as they were able to help out with a lot of maintenance activities to ensure the plants are able flourish. Fellowship and their students have been an incredible source of inspiration and help for this initiative. It’s great to have their help and we could not accomplish all of this without them.
On Friday, we officially planted out 100th row! This is an incredible accomplishment and a testament to the hard work by so many in our community. On to the next 100 rows!
The Harvest is really starting to come in and the time of the year when all of the hard work by so many begins to truly bear fruit. Total harvest for the week came in at 440 lbs bringing our season to date harvest totals to 960 lbs in only 4 weeks!
Folks, that’s a lot of food in 4 weeks! Compare that to last year’s total harvest of approximately 5,000 lbs. In four weeks we are at 20% of last year’s total harvest & this is just from the spring crop. Just wait until we start harvesting the potatoes and the summer harvest comes in. So, despite a tough start to the season, we are catching back up quickly.
We are thankful to everyone that comes out to help harvest, and this week we say an extra thanks to Aaron & Christy Wilson who seem to be out every week to lend a hand! Thankful for hearts like these!
Saturday Service Day…
Saturday’s service day had an amazing turn of out of volunteers to include families and members of Work Matter’s Engage!
We also had a few minutes to catch up with Aaron & Christy Wilson again at the Bentonville Farmer’s Market to pick up their weekly lug.
Don’t miss some of the pictures from this week…
Hunger Relief Distribution
We also had an opportunity to caught up with Brad Melton who is leading The Cafe initiative every Saturday at the Samaritan Community Center. In this quick exchange, food harvested from The Farm on Friday is taken to the Samaritan Community Center where it will supplement the food used for meals and distribution to those in our community at risk for hunger insecurity.
How to get get involved over next few weeks…
If you would like to volunteer to spend some time at The Farm (and now’s the time of year we could really use it), please visit our “Volunteer” page for a list of opportunities to serve. However, at this time of year, Gary and the team are at The Farm almost every day, so if you’d like to come out during the week, shoot us a note at Farm@CobblestoneProject.org and we’ll make sure we can accommodate.
The 2011 season for The Farm is underway!
It is hard to believe the opportunities that have presented themselves over the past few months and we are truly excited about what is ahead.
We are excited to announce that the Cobblestone Project Farm is moving to Fayetteville. New Heights Church in Fayetteville has graciously donated the use of 10 acres of their land in West Fayetteville to be the new home of the farm.
This move will greatly expand the scope of The Farm to include: expanded food production capacity, work share programs to create commerce & jobs, agricultural education partnerships & a large increas
e in the ability to serve the under-resourced all over NW Arkansas. We are extremely grateful to the people of New Heights Church for their vision. We could not dream this big without your vision, and we are looking forward to this new partnership.
There will be a Farm volunteer information & orientation luncheon on Saturday, February 19th from 10 am to 12 pm in Fayetteville (lunch will be provided). Please register to attend (location information on Volunteer Hub).
Opportunities to volunteer at The Farm will start in March, and those dates will be available soon. We would ask that you consider attending on Feb 19th as it will provide a broad overview of production plans and volunteer roles.
This past year we were incredible blessed by a member of the community who graciously helped start the D.C. initiative. As a result, the back of house engine that is needed to support many of the Cobblestone Project initiatives was able to drive so many things behind the scenes. This includes a home for 3 Bags in
2 Day, support for the 5 Our Step families that were placed in homes this past year, Laundry Love prep & staging as well as some of our Green Rooms and gatherings. As a result of the DC, we have seen a new level of capabilities and effectiveness throughout all of our initiatives.
So, in order to fully support the continued development of the various initiatives, the DC will be following the Farm to Fayetteville. It will be located very close to the Farm site and be able to serve in a new capacity of processing the harvest, cold storage, etc.
The new D.C. will take a lot of effort to get it up to the level we need to support our requirements, so there are some electrical, plumbing and cleaning needs if any groups are able to help. Given a little elbow grease, the DC will be a perfect new home.
If you would like to help with bringing the D.C. up to speed, please send an email to DC@cobblestoneproject.org or watch the Volunteer Hub for staged volunteer days.
!dea Camp: Orphan Care
We are pleased to be a supporting organization bringing The Idea Camp to Northwest Arkansas.
The Idea Camp is a collaborative movement of idea-makers who facilitate hybrid conferences and develop resources for people who desire to move ideas towards implementation. Facilitated by a growing collective of innovative thinkers and practitioners from numerous disciplines, participants gather around topics of interest to encourage & inspire one another, share practical wisdom from the field, and develop viable networks for idea-making.
The upcoming Idea Camp (Feb 25th & 26th in NW Arkansas) is focusing on the subject of Orphan Care. It will facilitate fresh, honest and transformative conversations with leading thinkers and practitioners on topics including US & International care, community development, trafficking of orphans, adoption, foster care, child sponsorship, HIV/AIDS, special needs, cross-cultural & religious dynamics to care, and many more. The desire is to live life as God’s loving expressions of grace and hope to our world through tangible acts of care for orphans.
There will be balance conversation between Int
ernationl & US needs for orphans, foster care, mentoring and preventive care. In fact, many local NW Arkansas organizations will be presenting include 99 Balloon, The C.A.L.L, NW Arkansas Women’s Shelter, Keypoint Church, Titus Task, Potter’s House, Central United Methodist Church, Cobblestone Project and Mike & Susan Duke will be sharing their experience as Child Advocates.
For more information, and to register, visit https://www.theideacamp.com/.
Thank you to everyone that gives unceasingly to serve our community. You are the heroes & we could not be more grateful to live in a community like NW Arkansas
The Cobblestone Project
“Aggressively Pursuing a Community Without Need”
click document icon to download a printable version of the Cobblestone Project January 2011 Update
Like so many in our community, we are saddened by news of the closing of World Garden in Bentonville.
Over the past year we have had the privilege of coming alongside their mission, their staff and their family to be a part of a story that goes to the core of what drives the Cobblestone Project forward. World Garden’s story of creating a space in our community that allows those in need to have their basic needs met is actually only a small portion of their larger story.
Their larger story is one of leaving behind the comforts and security of this world to pursue a higher calling of loving their neighbor and serving their God regardless of their personal cost. This is a story that speaks to our human condition in a way that allows us all to move past the temporary comforts we may enjoy in order to find greater purpose in loving and serving our neighbor.
Desmond Tutu is quoted as saying
“My humanity is wrapped up in yours, for we can only be Human together”
We want to thank Rick, Cindy and their children for showing our community what a tangible expression of living a life in the service of others can truly look like. Their vision, their heart and their labor has created a better community for us all, and for that we are forever thankful. In short, they have allow us to “be Human together.”
While the physical World Garden may be closing, their story and their efforts will continue forward with great energy. Over the past year, their efforts have begun initiatives such as The Garden, food Gathering & Distribution operations and The Farm. These initiatives will continue forward and their impact in the lives of those in our community will remain strong. If you had the opportunity to spend anytime with Rick and Cindy, you will know that their mission behind World Garden was a desire to serve those in our community. Let us rededicate ourselves to these efforts and continue forward in the spirit of what began all of this.
We are thankful for the Boosey family and we know that this is not the end, but rather another opportunity to re-imagine a new tomorrow. A better tomorrow.
For more information on the initiatives that have begun as a result of World Garden’s efforts, please spend some time on the Cobblestone Project website to find out how you can help.
- The Garden @ Samaritan Community Center (email@example.com)
- Food Gathering and Distribution teams (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The Farm (email@example.com)
Here are some of our memories & the impact that World Garden has made…
We are happy to announce that Tyson Foods has begun partnering with the Gathering & Distribution efforts of the Cobblestone Project. This food is picked up and then directly distributed to food pantries & shelters across Northwest Arkansas as well being added to the efforts of The Garden initiative.
This is so important because the protien sources that Tyson Foods adds is vital to ensuring that healthy meals can be offered to those facing hunger and food insecurity in Northwest Arkansas. In a Washington Post story titled “Poverty Drains Nutrition From Family Diet“, Sharon Kirkpatrick in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto was quoted
“Over the long term, [food insecurity] could be expected to precipitate and complicate diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease”
We are especially thankful to Gary Hamm and Penny Moncrief for all of their work to make this happen. Tyson Foods Hunger Relief efforts are fulfilling a vital need in our community & are a excited to be a part of their important work.
This could not happen without the efforts of the Gathering & Distribution team who over the past year have formed a network of volunteers and connection points that have served over 22 nonproft organizations in Northwest Arkansas. While their efforts are sometimes not as visible, their impact is significant.
We are honored to be a small part of the larger effort of so many in our community to be a source of hope and relief to those in need.
- To learn more about Tyson Foods Hunger Relief work, please visit their Hunger Relief website (http://hungerrelief.tyson.com/) and follow their twitter updates at http://twitter.com/TysonFoods
- If you would like to help in these efforts, there are many opportunities to serve and you can learn more on the Gathering & Distribution webpage or sign up to volunteer on the Cobblestone Project Volunteer Hub.
- To learn more about Hunger in the US, visit Tyson Foods Hunger Relief “About Hunger” webpage (http://hungerrelief.tyson.com/About.aspx)
For more information on the areas that Scott has been serving to help the hungry in NW Arkansas, please visit the various initiative pages or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Garden initiative has been in operation since Sept of last year and it has continually been in a process of shaping, evolving & finding new ways to serve our Community. In that spirit, we are excited to announce a shift of the Jones Center kitchen team to relocate to the
We currently have an incredible relationship with Debbie Rambo, Executive Director of Samaritan Community Center, and her team through the Our Step initiative, Laundry Love, The Farm & now we hope to build upon it through these efforts. It’s exciting to see how the original vision of World Garden owners Rick and Cindy Boosey continues to grow and develop in our community by providing meals to those without. It’s amazing to see how a few over-ripe bananas have now turned into a entire center being able to open one more day a week.
Note: the World Garden kitchen in will continue to serve as a kitchen on Sunday’s in their current capacity.
“the day this does not ‘wreck me’ is the day I need to walk away…”
these were the words from our friends at Samaritan Community Center when they shared these two letters with us as a reminder of the reality of hunger in NW Arkansas.
We are so thankful for the people at Samaritan Community Center and the work that they do every day to serve those who are in need.
They are able to meet the needs of these children through the Snackpacks for Kids program and we hope that you will support their efforts in a major way to help those in our community.
For more information on how you can help, please visit their website at www.SAMCC.org, and the next time you meet some who is helping their please give them a big hug of encouragement.
The Cobblestone Project, in collaborative partnership with the University of Arkansas Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Services, Downtown Bentonville, Inc., World Garden and with the support of Walmart Stores, is excited to announce the launch of The Farm initiative!
The Farm is a new initiative that involves the Cobblestone Project farming land to grow crops that will be used 1) to feed the hungry of NW Arkansas, 2) provide a foundation for Community Supported Agriculture opportunities and 3) provide financial resources from the sale of a portion of the harvest in order will offset operational costs and become fully self-sufficient.
The Farm initiatives has grown out of the story that began with Mark Horvath’s (founder InvisiblePeople.tv) visit to NW Arkansas for 1,287 that connected Cobblestone Project with World Garden and their feeding initiative now known as The Cafe.
For the 2010 growing season, we will begin by farming approx. 5 acres with crops that include: Pototoes, Onions, Cabbage, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Radishes, Carrots, Corn, Cucumbers, Squash, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Beets, Leeks, Shallots, Turnips, Spinach, Bush Beans, Eggplant, Okra, Cilantro, Bell Pepper, Jalapeno, Basil, Sweet Potatoes, Collards and Peas
The team coordinating & advising The Farm includes…
- David Carter – Land owner & Agricultural Expert
- Mark Bray – University of Arkansas Department of Agriculture Coorperative Extension Agent
- Gary Davis – The Farm Site Manager & Farmer’s Market Coordinator
- Barry Bryant – Volunteer & Civic Coordination
- Stephanie Bryant – Communications, Marketing & PR
- Mike Rusch – Coordination
For more information, please visit The Farm initiative webpage or contact Farm(@)CobblestoneProject.org
Starting 6 am and lasting until approx. 9 pm, over 150+ volunteers gathered to spend a little time giving back to our community.
It was truly a special day that began with distributing meals throughout NW Arkansas to…
- those who are served through Laundry Love Springdale
- Peace at Home Shelter
- Springdale Housing Authority
- Individual families who could not come to World Garden
Then at 12 pm, 3 pm and 6 pm people came to sit and enjoy an incredible meal surrounded by friends, family, music and joy. We asked some of the volunteers why they had come to spend Thanksgiving this way…
we did grab a few pictures of the evening and volunteers, but out of respect for the privacy of those that came to eat we tried to stay out of the way.
It was a great evening, and we had a chance to grab a few minutes with Rick the evening before to hear a few words from him.
To all of the people who gave of their time & resources we are super appreciative. We could not have come together in such a way without you. And an extra thank you to some of the sponsors that gave without any expectation of anything in return…you are incredible.
- Tankersley Food Service
- Thomas Brothers Produce
- Coldstone Creamery
- Model Laundry & Dry Cleaners
- Bloom Florist
- Shirley’s Florist
- Signed, Sealed & Delivered
- Metro Market
- John Brown University
- The Jones Center for Families
- Walmart Stores
- Sam’s Club
- World Garden