From Farmer’s Market

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.

The Farm Cross Church 058

Rain, Mud & Community (The Farm Weekly Update)

With the temperatures in the the 70′s and 80′s the past two weeks, we can officially say Fall is here. We hope you and your family are in enjoying this weather as much as we are. With the cool nights, we are getting excited for our Fall Harvest Party in late October.

The Farm is beginning to come back to life, and the produce is looking great. The broccoli, cabbage, radishes, spinach, and bak choy is coming in nicely, and in just a few short weeks will begin harvesting.

A few weeks ago, we were able to give away our entire harvest for the week to our Hunger Relief Efforts. Local organizations such as Restoration villageSAMCC Cafe, and Central United Methodist received produce.


We are extremely grateful for the groups and organizations who continue to dedicate their time to The Farm. One of these groups from Cross Church- Fayetteville has been a huge support for our Saturday Planting & Maintenance Day.

Even when the weather was not great, they were there ready to participate in whatever was needed. We are reminded, with groups like these, how wonderful our community really is.

We love the energy groups like these bring to what we are doing. They continue to have a great attitude no matter the circumstance, and a little fun as well!

To date, we have harvested 6,174 pounds of produce. Of that, we have given away 2,791 pounds to our Hunger Relief Efforts. This would not be possible without the great community of Northwest Arkansas. We are extremely grateful for each of you!

For more information on The Farm or how you can become involved, please visit The Farm website or email TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org

This week at The Farm

Summer officially begins this coming weekend, and no surprise to anyone that this Spring has had its challenges. However, we have learned much and have been making adjustments along the way to make the most of this summer production.

We were able to accomplish a whole lot this week including planting another 12 rows of corn, some much needed maintenance on our squash & okra crops, and pruning of our first round of 200 tomato plants.

Harvest for week of June 20th – 571 lbs & Season to Date (5 weeks) – 1,531 lbs with hunger relief Donations to Samaritan Community Center & Central United Methodist Church Fayetteville Community Meals Program

Gary’s weekly update

KLRC at The Farm

It was a true gift to be chosen as the focus community initiative by KLRC & we have had an incredible increase in not only interest in The Farm, but also a lot more volunteers during a time we really need the help.

Last Friday, Keri, Kalynn & Jeremy came out to visit and help with the Harvest & we had an opportunity to hear their impressions of The Farm.

Faces of The Farm – Anita Rausch

Anita has been with The Farm from the very beginning & we are truly grateful for all that she has given to make The Farm a reality. She quietly serves almost every week asking for nothing in return but a smile.  Thank you Anita!  You are a gift to so many.

Friends from SVI

We have had the privilege of working with the team from SVI on a pilot plot program to see if The Farm can serve to accomplish both our primary goals as well as the goals of building community within this incredible company in NW Arkansas.

We had an opportunity to talk with Michelle from SVI to hear about their experience so far.

If you would like to participate with The Farm, we invite you to join us every Friday and Saturday for our open volunteer days. However, at this time of the year there is always something to be done at The Farm. For more information, please visit The Farm volunteer page or email Farm@CobblestoneProject.org

This week at The Farm & the 100th Row

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

Mid-Week

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.

Team from Walmart Finance FPMO serving at The Farm

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.

Students from Fellowship NWA's Collegiate Ministry

 

Friday Harvest!

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!

stake marker for the 100th row planted at The Farm

Harvest Share Subscribers Aaron & Christy Wilson helping to harvest at The Farm

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 Farm Weekly Update (Week of May 28th)

It was a big week for The Farm as this marked the first Harvest week and first distribution of Harvest Share subscriptions.  After months and months of hard work and managing through less that ideal weather conditions, The Farm is producing food!

It’s still early in the season and while the Broccoli was more abundant that we’ve ever seen it, the potatoes and lettuce weren’t quite ready.  As a result, it will be a few more weeks before we are able to maximize the produce being given to local feeding programs. However, we should see some amazing progress over the coming weeks as the summer weather pattern begins to set it.

Friday, May 27th was first Harvest and we are thankful for all of those who came out to be a part such an incredible time.

On Saturday, we caught up with Gary at The Farm in Fayetteville & Rachel at our Bentonville Farmer’s Market Booth

Rachel at The Farm’s Bentonville Farmer’s Market Booth

So very thankful for everyone that came out on Saturday as well to help with cultivating, maintenance and planting.  It’s been an incredible season so far and it looks like we are well on our way to keep that momentum going.

Farm Gift Card Thank You

A simple note of thanks…

As part of The Farm initiative we have partnered with some of the area schools to provide their families who have food needs with Gift Cards to our booth for redemption of produce.

This morning we had our first family stop by to redeem their card.

As the mother was leaving she slipped me this note, adding

“It’s not much but a simple thank you.  Cobblestone has helped our family a lot through your programs – my son gets his haircut with you guys too and you always make us feel special.”

She then walked away and I opened up the red envelope that contained this letter:

“(name omitted) is a recipient of the weekly snack packs, and when he got this (Farm Gift Card) yesterday, I found the letter and card for “The Farm.”  You can’t imagine how surprised and thankful I am by this!  (name omitted) and his brother have grown up going to the Farmer’s Market with me for fruits and veggies; they always have fun helping me pick up items.

When (name omitted) was about 2.5-3 years old, he’d get baby cucumbers from any farmer and eat them before we even left the market!  Both (name omitted) and his siblings have been on WIC.  When I take him in for blood work, etc, the nurses also ask what vitamins they are on because their iron count is always good; the boys have never taken vitamins because I make sure they eat well and this card will be a real blessing for us.

Thank you for blessing our family,
“A Mom”

It is people like this that reaffirm for us that God has us where He wants us.  Your help allows us to extend these weekly offerings to families such as these.  Your help changes lives, and helps to “Cultivate a Community Without Need.”

Appreciate getting to be a small part of it,
Rachel

First Planting Celebration at The Farm

The chickens were nesting and laying eggs in their new homes. Children were running free in what soon will be corn fields. Some were learning how to plant a potato. Neighbors were meeting for the first time. The day felt good.

(special thanks to BeGoodHumans.org for video production)

The sun came out and the winds died down. Almost 130 folks gathered under a large white tent on Saturday, May 7th for the First Planting Celebration at The Farm.

Sitting on hay bales, sipping sweet tea and lemonade, each family heard the heart and vision behind The Farm from Mike Rusch, one of the founding members of the Cobblestone Project.

The elders of New Heights Church were on hand to pray for this large endeavor and dedicate the land to the needs in Northwest Arkansas.


Families purchased Harvest Share subscriptions and 30 more volunteers signed up to add to the over 200 that have volunteered at The Farm since March.


A special thank you to our partners & sponsors who made this dream become a reality!

 

Amazing things are growing at The Farm – cabbage, sunflowers, and real community.

Won’t you ‘Be the Farmer’ and take part in this beautiful place? You can volunteer and share in the harvest.

(special thanks to Novo Studio for photographing the day)

 

For more information about how you can be involved in supporting the community through The Farm initiative, we invite you to visit TheFarm.CobblestoneProject.org for more information

The-Farm-color-square

The Farm 2011 Season Update

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 increase 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 you, 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).  Follow this link to register.

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

…lives are being changed before I’ve even gotten out of my pj’s and had my coffee

From Jennifer Arkins, Cobblestone Project Operating Team…

For me, Saturdays are usually spent enjoying the lazy days of summer.  For many in NWA, Saturdays are spent wondering where their next meal will come from, where they might enjoy a respite from the heat, burdened with the reality of poverty.  So, this Saturday, I had the priviledge of visiting some people in our area who are working towards a community without need.

In the early hours of Saturday morning our Gathering and Distribution team collect produce (much grown on our Farm), and distribute to local shelters, agencies,  our farmers market booth, and soup kitchens.  This team provides healthy foods to those who need it most. At the shelters and agencies this produce is prepared for clients in need.
When our Farm produce is delivered to the Farmers Market, some of it is sold (the income raised supports our cost to plant).  However, not all produce is sold.  This spring, we were able to partner with a local school, providing gift cards to children who are at risk for hunger.  These gift cards may be redeemed weekly for free fresh produce. While I visited our booth, I was blessed with the opportunity to see a mom and her two children, redeem her gift card for a free bag of fresh tomatos, potatoes, peppers, and such.  The mom was thankful for the nutritious produce, in a time when food is hard to come by.
After leaving the Farmers Market, I stopped by our Saturday Cafe at the Samaritan Community Center.  I am so glad that I did. The kitchen crew was busy slicing up tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes,strawberries and bananas from that mornings distribution.  Our wonderful chefs then prepared shrimp and lobster poboy sandwiches, potato soup, and fruit salad to serve to our clients that day.
I had the opportunity to grab a few minutes with Mark Poole and hear his story about why he is serving at the Samaritan Community Center.
As you can see I was lucky to get to share the delicious meal with some great people.
I visited with my people greeter that I see weekly at Wal-Mart and I visited with two moms and their children whom I have known for months from Laundry Love.  My son got some great book recomendations from two new friends from Rogers.  The most amazing part was seeing a client from Samartian Community Center come early, so that he could help prepare and set up for the other clients, before enjoying a bite himself.  It was truly this small community coming together.
I left a little overwhelmed with the fact that all this had happened before noon. That lives are being changed on Saturdays, before I’ve even gotten out of my pj’s and had my coffee.

If you would like to learn more about any of the initiatives listed above, please visit the Cobblestone Project Initiative Overview page for more information on how to help.