Monte: That's a great question. Back in 2009, I was starting out my second Spring with a local community garden effort, tilling the soil and pulling the weeds, when it occurred to me that the original concept was getting lost. All of the volunteers, like myself, were there to fill the food banks, but the original concept was to bring in people from Social Services and WIC and the like to grow their own food. And every time someone did, they did not stay long enough to harvest. While some might have immediately jumped to the conclusion that they were all just "lazy," I didn't. It was a good, long drive for a lot of them. So I asked myself what it would take to teach people to grow their own food, even in an apartment, as I had done so many times.
Then I was struck with a vision. I looked down from inside a greenhouse to see people loading a truck with pots, soil, and starting vegetable plants to be delivered to food banks to teach others to grow their own food indoors or out. Outside the greenhouse, more people were tending to acres of vegetables. There was also considerable housing and children. That's when I realized that the people there were families who had been homeless and were learning trades and skills to help them be more self-sufficient.
Since then, I have been led, mostly through stumbling onto things, to get a Masters degree in Counseling for this endeavor, to help other shelters start up their own gardens like the one pictured above, and eventually to work on another Masters degree in Divinity. I have had help from a local King Soopers store with donations to keep vegetable seeds going to people who need them, have helped a preschool with an annual pumpkin patch, and have donated a lot of food out of my own garden. But still no farm.
With so many food banks and shelters having closed since 2009 and the number of homeless families continuing to rise, I am determined to get a farm going within the year. Will you help us in this cause? Share frequently. Donate prayerfully in time, money, or simply prayers.
Thank you and God bless.