Tagged Community

Art in the Park- 6 Months!

Today’s post comes from Chloe Seal, initiative leader of 3 Bags in 2 Days. Art in the Park is a one-a-month event in Walker Park in South Fayetteville. We invite the under-resourced in our area to come to the park and to paint. We provide all the art supplies and serve dinner as well. People can come for a few hours and just be. People can come and let out whatever is going on in their lives and have a chance to freely express themselves through painting.

 


Tonight was so special. 6 months into Art in the Park and I couldn’t be any more in love. As if I’m not already borderline obsessed with it, tonight was something incredible. I can’t really put words to it or explain why it was so different. Every month it just seems to find it’s rhythm a little better and people start to feel truly welcome.

 

The best I can try to communicate about tonight would be the rich, deep community that could be felt. People came to paint and to eat, but the evidence of community and relationships could be felt by all. There was just a presence of calmness, trust, and abounding love. After all was said and done, a few of us looked at each other with the same thoughts of….wow. How on earth did Art in the Park come to be the way it was tonight? How did this incredible community come together in one place the way it did? How did art truly bring us all together?

 

I think this sense of community carried on through every avenue. People’s canvases seemed more vibrant than usual. The food seemed extra yummy. People clapped and cheered even when someone else won the duffle bag in the raffle. People helped each other get more paint or carry their stuff to the table. People laughed louder than ever. People encouraged others more than usual. New friendships were formed. 150 canvases were made beautiful. 120 lives changed. 120 people were just able to love and be loved. 

 

It was the best example of community that I have ever seen. Truly putting others first in a way that I have never witnessed before. A random, broken, overlooked, ragged and simply beautiful group of misfits (myself included) has taught me more about life and people that I could have ever imagined.

 

 

Fall is here!

With temperatures in the 70′s and 80′s the past couple of weeks, it is safe to say Fall is here! We hope you are enjoying the weather as much as we are. We are excited about the Fall Season, as we look back to the summer that we had, we continue to be grateful for what was accomplished.  It seems that The Farm is coming back to life, and the produce is looking great!

 

Our Amazing Community

 

We are extremely grateful for the groups and organizations who continue to dedicate their time to The Farm. We are also grateful for our Farm Team who keeps the experience alive, and work harder than you can imagine. Recently, Jeff Melton, Farmer’s Market Coordinator spoke about the idea of Redefining CSA, and we would love for you to hear his thoughts.

“When people approach me at the Bentonville Farmers’ Market and ask, “So, what is The Farm?”, I usually ask them if they’re familiar with what a CSA is. The Farm, I tell folks who are familiar with the acronym, is “CSA plus community outreach”.

I realized this morning that The Farm is really a much better example of community-supported agriculture than most other entities that use the description. We are supported, not only by our subscribers, but by churches, schools, global corporations and other non-profits based in Northwest Arkansas, all of which realize that a community is only as strong as its weakest members. Because of that, what we do might better be called Community-Supporting Agriculture.

All of these Friends of the Farm join with us in “cultivating a community without need”. Thanks to all who help make The Farm what it is!”

 

 

Also, thanks to the WalMart Finance team for helping during our Planting & Maintenance Day. They brought over 40 volunteers and were able to help further our Fall planting and harvesting!


 

We also had fun planting broccoli with Grace Hills Church during their NWA Service weekend. 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!

 

Production Update

We still have a few weeks before we begin Fall Harvest, and we are anticipating a great Fall crop. The lettuce has come in nicely, as well as the peas and sweet potatoes. We will also be harvesting  broccoli, cabbage, radishes, spinach, and bak choy !

 Currently to date, we have harvest 11,660 pounds with 6,785 going to Hunger Relief efforts. We have also collected    TONS of eggs as part of our Poultry Project. Last week, the Farm was excited to donate 24 pounds of spring mix lettuce to the community meal at St. Pauls Episcopal Church in Fayetteville.

 

Thanks again for helping “Cultivate a Community without Need”. We hope you will come and visit us down at The Farm. For more info or questions, feel free to email us at:

TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

Beyond Laundry

Many times, we are unable to capture the amazing things that happen at Laundry Love NWA. Currently, we operate 4 Laundry Loves in Northwest Arkansas. We have selfless families who continually give up their Fridays to help our community. Our volunteers always look beyond doing laundry  to hearing and sharing stories with those engaged in Laundry Love. When you participate in LLP you easily see the relationships that have been formed outside the walls of the laundromats. Recently, the Springdale edition of Laundry Love saw a need beyond laundry, and helped provide local students with school supplies.

This story comes from our Springdale Laundry Love Coordinator, Lindsey Kelley:

Laundry Love Project Springdale serves people on the East side of  Springdale. We serve around 24 families every month, many that have students in the Public School System. The students range from elementary to high school and cover over 5 different schools. We serve among the poorest population in Springdale, and possibly Northwest Arkansas.  We knew that there was a HUGE need to provide school supplies to the families.  Thankfully, we had a donation given to us that allowed us to purchase 30 backpacks and fill them with necessary school supplies.  We passed out a backpack to each school age kid that was there and were even able to send a few home with families that did not have their kids with them.  The families were very grateful!  The smiles on the kids faces were priceless.  Several of the kids proudly wore their backpacks around the laundry mat and did not take them off. It’s such a small gesture on our part, but impacts these kids (and their families) profoundly.  We will definitely serve the families in this way every year. This was a wonderful experience for the volunteers as well!  There is nothing better than being able to witness the pride a child feels when receiving their new backpack! We are thankful for those who helped make this possible.

We know that dignity can come from  not only washing clothes, but also giving something as small as a new backpack. We believe every person, family, and  student possesses worth and when we are able to aid in this- it is an amazing experience of true community.

 

 

The story of Laundry Love is a powerful one, and if you haven’t had a chance to hear it- we encourage you to. We are honored and humbled to be a part of this larger story of cleaning the clothes of those living in poverty and converting laundromats into hubs of relief to those around us. Thank you for helping us meet a need and striving towards, “A community without need.”

For more info or to share another story, email us at llp@cobblestoneproject.org 

Transitioning to Fall

 

We are starting to transition to Fall Planting mode and so far the weather has been great. Temperatures have been much lower and that allows the fall plants to grow in nicely.

It is hard to believe that we are thinking about fall, but with schools back in we know that Fall is fast approaching. There is a lot of work to be done at The Farm, and we are truly grateful for all of the people in the community who have helped out along the way.

Thankfully, things are starting to come back to life at The Farm; however, the affects of the Summer drought and heat will remain for at least the next few weeks. We are still grateful for the recent rains that have brought much needed relief to our plants.

 

Our Amazing Community

 

Our community has continued to amaze us, and we are truly grateful. We know as school, soccer, football, and everything else begins, time becomes precious. We are still in need of people to lend a hand to make sure we can finish our year strong. So, if you’re able to spread the word about opportunities to serve at The Farm, we would be very grateful.

We loved having students from the youth ministry and Central United Methodist Church in Rogers.
They learned how to harvest green beans and field peas. They collected four lugs of beans that will go to local hunger relief efforts!

We are also thankful for Fayetteville’s Youth Wrestling Team who helped plant fall veggies.

Production Update

For the fall season to we have planted  broccoli plants, cabbage plants as well as various salad mixes with much more to come!

We have a lot more plants to put in the ground and will continue planting over the next few weeks. We’ll keep you updated, but so far all is on track.

The Farm is still producing limited crops including okra, peppers, tomatoes, and  peas. This is due to the drought and heat this summer. We appreciate your grace and understanding during this time.

Our season to date harvest is exactly 10,025 pounds with 57% (or 5,946 pounds) of the total harvest being given to local hunger relief in Northwest Arkansas!

 

 

 

Thanks again for helping “Cultivate a Community without Need”. We hope you will come and visit us down at The Farm. For more info or questions, feel free to email us at:

TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

Down at the Farm!

It’s hard to believe July is almost over. The heat over the past month and a half has been hard on all of NW Arkansas, and we are so grateful that we still have produce. That is a true testament of our community and our hard working farm team.

We’ve come a long way this season, and we are still seeing the fruit of our community’s labor. We continue to be thankful of everyone who has made this Farm season possible.

 

Our Amazing Community

Thanks to everyone that joined us the past couple of weeks at The Farm for maintenance and harvesting.

We are especially thankful for Fellowship Bible Church College Ministry who have brought students out every week, despite the heat and drought. They continue to accomplish so much for us and have had fun in the process.

 

 

We loved having student Farmers from Owl Creek out to the Farm last week. They helped harvest potatoes, tomatoes, and other produce. We had around 60 students participate  in learning about The Farm, and they were hard workers as well!

 

We are also thankful for the group from Harbor Church in Springdale who came out this weekend. They harvested tomatoes, peppers, and watermelon.

 

 

Production Update

While we have taken a hit from the heat and lack of rain, we are still producing at The Farm. The corn has had a hard time growing, along with the Sunflowers and lettuces. Recently we have harvested okra, potatoes, onions, watermelon and plenty of tomatoes.

 

 

We have harvested 8,454 pounds of produce so far this season. Of that,  5,137 pounds have gone to hunger relief and local food pantries around Northwest Arkansas such as Life Source, Samaritan Community Center, and the NW Arkansas Women’s Shelter.

 

 

 

Thanks again for helping “Cultivate a Community without Need”. We hope you will come and visit us down at The Farm. For more info or questions, feel free to email us at:

TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

Cobblestone heads to D.C.

 

Last week, Cobblestone participated in a forum at the White House. We received an invitation from the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, and the Office of Public Engagement to participate in a meeting to discuss the important role that social innovators play in expanding opportunity and addressing social issues. We were so honored and excited to be a part of this, and loved getting to meet some true world-changers.

Faith-based social innovators from all over the country came together for this event. The day consisted of panels, group discussions, and input from Senior Administration Officals. We explored how “faith-based organizations are creating innovative models and entrepreneurial ventures to make a positive impact on our economy and our society, often while serving our most vulnerable communities.”

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Joshua DuBois  & Jonathan Greenblatt  for hosting such an amazing group of people. The impact of their work was evident by the many groups that were represented during the meeting. People from different backgrounds, faiths, and passions gathered together to address social issues. The common denominators were the needs of our world, and the craving for sustainability in meeting those needs in communities around the country.

 

 


(Board members, founders, and team inside The White House)

 

 

A few things we took away from this meeting:

1.The impact local communities have as it relates to social justice issues. Communities are taking care of communities in a beautiful way all over the nation. We walked away proud and honored of what our community is doing in Northwest Arkansas. We are humbled to be a small part of a bigger movement within our community.

2. Collaboration is STILL key. We talk frequently about collaboration, but the importance of this virtue was reiterated while we were in D.C. This is a good reminder to engage with those in our community who fighting with us on ending issues of social injustice.

3. The people who are truly making a difference don’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.

We want to take this time to thank each one of you for making this possible. This opportunity was a reflection of all of the hard work you have done, and we are extremely grateful for your dedication and commitment to Cobblestone. We are humbled by the families and individuals who have paved the way for social innovation in NW Arkansas. Thank you for continuing to strive towards ” A Community without Need.”

 

July at The Farm

It is hard to believe that July is already here.  It has been a hot couple of weeks, but this weekend’s rain provided the relief our plants have needed. We have had a blast with the volunteers who have continuously worked hard to help our community.

Our Amazing Community

We continue to me amazed by all of our volunteers. The hard work and dedication is evident in the harvest. We have had over 400 different volunteers at The Farm, and have loved getting to know each one of you.

 

 

Production Update

Summer is in full swing and we are continuing to be blessed by a bountiful crop. In the last couple of weeks we have harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, okra, radishes, potatoes, beans, peppers, and herbs. We are thankful the hens have started laying and we now have eggs! We will continue to harvest our Summer crops and in the next few weeks begin to plant for our Fall Harvest.

We have currently harvested 4,677 pounds of produce with 50% going to hunger relief. We continue to need volunteers, so bring your friends, family or office down to see us!

 

Hunger Relief

Hunger Relief distribution is underway. To date we have given away 2,322 pounds of food to local food programs and Non-Profits. Samaritan Community Center ,  NW Arkansas Women’s Shelter , Central United Methodist and LifeSource International.  We have also redeemed giftcards, and are grateful to our community for helping feed the hungry in our area.

Today we are dontating potatoes, tomatoes, and cabbage to St. Paul’s Episcopal, Central United Methodist, and LifeSource. Our team was up early harvesting and processing the produce.

 

Volunteer Opportunities

It’s a great time to be at The Farm, check our calendar for opportunities to bring your family and enjoy the day.

Getting in the Swing of Summer

We have had a great couple of weeks at The Farm. The weather  has been beautiful and our summer crops are coming in nicely. It has been a blast seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones during the weekend Harvest Parties.

Our Amazing Community

Big thanks to those who came out to The Farm the past few weekends. We have enjoyed blackberry cobbler made by one of our wonderful volunteers, made with Farm blackberries and eggs. Also, a huge thanks to the West Ozark Deanery Youth Group who helped prune the tomatoes. The Neilsen group picked blackberries, processed potatoes, and picked tomatoes. We are so grateful for each group helping to  “cultivate a community without need.”

 

Production Update

Summer is here, and the crops are doing extremely well. We have harvested some really yummy produce and are looking forward to this weeks harvest of: Squash, potatoes, onions, cabbage, beans, radishes, and garlic.

The weather has been perfect so far, and we are extremely grateful for this. It makes for a fun, cool, and exciting environment for you and your group to volunteer!

Hunger Relief

Hunger Relief distribution is underway. To date we have given away 1,965 pounds of food to local food programs and Non-Profits. Samaritan Community Center ,  NW Arkansas Women’s Shelter , Central United Methodist and LifeSource International.  We have also redeemed giftcards, and are grateful to our community for helping feed the hungry in our area.

 

 

 

Volunteer Opportunities

It’s a great time to be at The Farm, check our calendar for opportunities to bring your family and enjoy the day.

30 Days 4 Change!

April was a whirlwind of a month, and we loved every minute of it!

The students at Bentonville High School who participated in “30 Days 4 Change” did an amazing job.

With the help of Scott Herron, Teacher and Student Advisor, the groups were able to accomplish a tremendous amount for local organizations.

We are excited to announce that winner of the first ever 30 Days for Change & a grant of $1,000 is….LifeSource International.

Congratulations to the student group who made this possible- Kelly Xia, Emily Sellers and Shelby Thompson.

Thanks to Kevin Fitzpatrick, Corrie Rusch, Kim Garret, and Mary Ley for sitting on the judges panel. We are grateful for their commitment to Cobblestone BHS, and caring about the needs of our community. Their participation in this initiative only validated what the students campaigns.

Mary Ley the Executive Director of Communication/PR & Community Partnerships for Bentonville Public Schools, said she had an incredible experience and loved what the students were able to learn. “After yesterday, I went home on  top of the world thinking of what wonderful kids, teachers, and community we live in.”

With the judges expertise and deep roots in our community, they helped make the decision to name LifeSource the winners.

The judging criteria was based on; impact, sustainability, creativity and social innovation.

They felt that the LifeSource group went above and beyond on all of these areas, and created a model that will continue for years to come. They constructed and built 4 raised garden beds on the property of LifeSource Int. Fresh produce is something that will benefit their food pantry and provide healthy meals to the under-resourced in our community.

All of the students did a wonderful job, and choosing a winner was not an easy task. Here is a recap of all the groups accomplished during 30 Days for Change:

99 Balloons: Led by Elliott Miller, Caroline Fox, Courtney Cassin, and Marissa Spear raised over $700 to send medical equipment to an orphanage in Ukraine. They also participated in a monthly volunteer opportunity, and raised awareness of rEcess at BHS.

7Hills: Led by Sarah Newton, Haley Hogue, Myles Markey, Erin Mertes,  and Ellen Mertes. Over $1,000 was raised by this group to help the initiatives at 7 Hills. They sold bracelets to local neighborhoods and shared the mission behind 7 Hills.

Saving Grace: Led by Morgan Drish, Hannah Amerson, Morgan Jones, Lindsey Martin, and Demi Moore. The students were able to help spread the word about Saving Grace. They took student polls, handed out brochures, and promoted the services Saving Grace provides. They improved their social media campaign and helped create new marketing materials for the organization.

The groups not only met needs of local organizations, they were able to learn about our community as well.  We know that students like these are our future. They can change not only Northwest Arkansas, but the world.

We were honored to partner with them on this journey and we are looking forward to next year. If you are interested in learning more, or getting involved- email us here.

 

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.