Tagged Sustainability

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.

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.

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Looking forward to Spring (part 1)

Even though food production has ceased for the season at The Farm, we have a project list that is a mile long of things we have to accomplish before spring.  Things are going really well and we are thankful for the year we have behind us.  It should allow us to be ready come last frost to move very quickly.

We are truly thankful for everyone that came out this past Saturday to help on the many projects we have.  It turned out to be an absolutely perfect day, and we loved the opportunity to meet some new faces.

We will have additional periodic Spring Prep days during the winter, and we’d love to have you join us (weather permitting).

The Farm Update & Welcome to Newest Farm Team Member

We want to extend a special welcome to Hannah who is joining The Farm team through the EnergyCorps Program.  She is already hard and work and will be with us for the entire 2012 season.  We are thankful to have her on board and we look forward to everyone having a chance to meet her.

Another huge thank you to William’s Tractor for making this season actually possible.  We could not have done it without their support.

Pole Barn is FINISHED!!!

We were able to finish the pole barn that will serve as our base of operations for all produce processing and storage next season.  Next season’s production plans are built around tripling the amount of food we grow, so this resource will be critical in making post harvest processing and storage more efficient.  In keeping with our desire to reduce our impact on the environment, we were able to reuse an existing pole barn from a poultry farm in the area.

We are thankful for all of those who made it possible to include Andy Pruitt of Garver Engineering, Barry Bryant, and the many volunteers from Fellowship Bible Church.

What’s Ahead?

We have a lot to do this winter to ensure we hit the ground running in Spring.  We will be building out a new poultry enclosure to expand the flock, fill out the pole barn area by installing wash stations & cold storage, applying lime & manure to the fields, installing high tunnels to extend the growing season,  rebuilding  fence lines to remove the barb wire & make it safer for the children that come out, and putting up some deer fencing (they fed too well last season).

Check The Farm calendar for our next Spring Prep Volunteer Days.

2012 Harvest Share Subscriptions

Harvest Share Subscriptions for 2012 are not available for purchase.  There is a limited amount, so get yours while they are still available.  For more information, please visit the Harvest Share webpage.

For more information on The Farm, please visit The Farm’s website or send an email to TheFarm@CobblestoneProject.org.

CNG-TheFarm

The Farm Earns “Certified Naturally Grown” Certification

The Cobblestone Project Farm has earned “Certified Naturally Grown” certification and joins a community of over 700 farmers and beekeepers in North America!

Certified Naturally Grown farmers strive to strengthen the organic movement by preserving high organic standards and removing financial barriers that tend to exclude smaller farms that sell locally and directly to their customers.

The Certified Naturally Grown program is a non-profit alternative certification program tailored for small-scale, direct-market organic farmers.  When the USDA’s Organic program was implemented in 2002, “… organic farms earning more than $5,000 per year were forced to make a choice that for many was difficult: either pay high certification fees and complete mounds of paperwork to become Certified Organic, or else give up using the word “organic” to describe their produce.  Believing that neither choice was very attractive, farmers created Certified Naturally Grown to provide an alternative way to assure their customers that they observed strict organic growing practices.”

You can visit The Farm’s Certified Naturally Grown profile to stay updated on our adherence to the program.

The learn more about the Certified Naturally Grown program you can visit their website or watch their video.

Farm Fresh Eggs

Special thank you to Great Day Farms

We wanted to extend a very special thank you to Great Day Farms, a member of the CCF Brands Family, for supporting The Farm this season.  Great Day Farms has called Northwest Arkansas home since 1997 and they have been very active in supporting our community form the very beginning.  It is within this spirit that we express our thankfulness for the opportunity to work with them on The Farm initiative.  They are truly empowering The Farm to bring many critical pieces to life.

Great Day Farm’s investment in the “Pastured Laying Hen” project at The Farm will be providing a benefit to our community for many years to come, so we are excited to have their support during this critical building stage at The Farm.  Great Day Farms involvement has moved The Farm’s model forward in these key areas:

Sustainability

The Pastured Laying Hen Project is designed to study how establishing a steady rotational grazing pattern for the chickens will spreading manure to positively impact soil quality and fertility.  This will reduce the need for fertilizers as the soil conditions will improve due to the presence of the hens.

Hunger Relief & Healthy Living

Eggs contain important proteins, minerals, and vitamins. In fact, egg yolks are one of few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D.  One large egg provides 6g of protein, which is 10% of the daily-recommended value of protein in a 2,000-calorie diet.  Eggs are great way to ensure that our hunger relief efforts are proving a healthy pathway to healthy living.

Therefore, the eggs harvested from the hens will be donated to hunger relief efforts and sold at local Farmer’s Markets to ensure the long term success of the project.

Education

The Pastured Laying Hen Project is being executed in partnership with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Crop, Soils and Environmental Sciences and Great Day Farms.  This is allowing The Farm to be used as a demonstration site for this University project but also for educational purposes that supports our pilot educational experience programs with local elementary schools.

Community

Not only is this project critical to the success of The Farm, but it is a true reflection of the heart of CCF Brands as a company.  Over the season, employees from CCF Brands & Great Day Farms have joined us at The Farm to work the land, care for the crops, and bring a broader sense of community to this initiative.  We had the opportunity to capture some of their thoughts about The Farm.

 

It has been a true honor and joy to partner with Great Day Farms as we establish a firm foundation that will benefit our community for years to come.

Thank you Great Day Farms! Together we are building a stronger community!

Being the Farmer is Tough (The Farm Weekly Update)

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

The Farm Weekly Update

Weather Update

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

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

University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Services Update

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

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

Harvest & Hunger Relief

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

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

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

Poultry Project Update

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

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

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

Community Involvement

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week!