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.
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 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
Four weekends into Cobblestone’s support of the The Garden Initiative, things are moving really fast. We asked Rick to give us a quick update on his thoughts and some potential next steps.
From Rick Boosey, Caretaker of World Garden
When we started feeding those less fortunate, we had a vision to feed 5,000 per week. We knew that we couldn’t do it by ourselves, and so when we connected with Cobblestone Project, we knew there were possibilities far beyond anything our team could do alone.
The first month of the "Garden" has exceeded our expectations, both in the sheer amount of food prepared and the number of volunteers involved. In fact, on average we end up with twice the volunteers we need and that’s exciting.
Now that we can reliably prepare food weekly, it’s time to encourage/recruit other kitchens – our vision is a "network of people", food and kitchens that eventually end hunger in NWA. That’s no small undertaking. We will not replace the agencies that love on people, instead will come along side and supply food/meals so that they work on core services. It will take time, teamwork, sacrifice – it will be messy at times, but with a community working together, thinking outside the box – with additional projects like with the "Community Farm" in the spring, you can step back and see in a few years we can end hunger in Northwest Arkansas as a "community loving on a community".
This project is scalable beyond NWA – once we get the our network of kitchens and people operationally – we will share with other cities – the possibilities blow us away.
Our next phase is providing Thanksgiving Dinner for 288 people – why – we want to serve those who have had a tough time this year. If you want to get involved, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There are lots of ways to serve, prep, organizing, scheduling, provide food, cook, serve a dining room shift, clean or deliver to shut-ins. Let’s put Thanksgiving back in proper perspective this year and give back a portion what we have been given. And from a longer-term perspective, the Thanksgiving meal begins the milestone of providing meals more than once per week, part of our long term strategy.
We are honored to be a part of what’s happening – transforming lots of people (including our kids) into servant leaders. Our prayer is the next generation just gets what we’ll all learning.
rick and cindy boosey | caretakers, world garden | shop # 479.715.0535 | fax # 479-657-6313 | email@example.com
On behalf of the Cobblestone Project, it has been an incredible joy and honor to work with Rick on support this vision and initiative. Rick & Cindy’s generosity and humility have been so encouraging and enableing. We are anxious to move forward and as the kitchen coordination (the most difficult part) starts to settle it will open up broader distribution opportunities.
For info on how to get plugged in to the Garden initiative, visit the initiative page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch.
And, if you haven’t had a chance to have a meal at World Garden make sure you sneak over and see where all the magic is taking place. Chances are you’ll catch Rick blazing around the restaurant, but catch him for a few minutes and give him a big hug.
Photographs courtesy of
see original story “a World Garden kind of day, and they weren’t even open“
Sunday evening a small group of people gathered at a closed restaurant to reverse the usual flow of business and provide free food to those who are hungry in NW Arkansas. With effortless motion, Cobblestone Project Green Room is Sept 20th @ 5:30 pm in Fayetteville (click for directions). We will be sharing stories of this evening and planning and coordinating the next few month’s activities. All are welcome.
in one follow-up story from 1,287, KFSM ran a story on World Garden’s Banana Bread Story and Feeding Program in the works.