In the lastest edition of Upwords, a publication of First Free Methodist Church in Moose Jaw, SK, Rachel Runnalls writes about her new role as Farm Coordinator for the Mosaic Community Food Farm. Rachel agreed to share her story here.
From Food Farm to Food Bank – Mosaic Community Food Farm
“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…” (Mt 25:35)
Last year I joined the Moose Jaw Community Gardens and discovered how deeply passionate I am about making things grow. When I have my hands in the dirt and the sun on my head I feel connected in such a simple and direct way with God’s original design for each one of us to be stewards of his creation.
As simple as it is to grow things, most people in urban centres have lost the connection between the food on their table and the earth it came from – if they can afford to buy fresh produce at all. ‘Food insecure’ is a term for families who usually (but not always) have enough of some kinds of food to eat, but can’t afford or can’t access fresh fruits and vegetables to make them a regular part of their diet.
This year my little city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan is pioneering a project to make fresh fruits and vegetables accessible to low income families, by creating a two-acre vegetable farm and fruit orchard in a sun-drenched spot in Wakamow Valley. The Mosaic Community Food Farm is a collaborative project between community-minded partners including Wakamow Valley, Hunger in Moose Jaw, the Moose Jaw and District Food Bank, Riverside Mission, proudly sponsored by the Mosaic Company and Tree Canada. At harvest times we will be connecting our produce with agencies that need it, including the Food Bank, Riverside Mission soup kitchen and Hunger in Moose Jaw programs. Everything we grow goes to a local family or individuals who need fresh fruit and vegetables.
My new role as ‘Farm Coordinator’ brings together my passion for gardening, my experience as a leader, and my heart for reaching our community with God’s shalom. Plus, the other staff person they hired on the project is a young woman I’ve mentored since she came to my youth group in her Grade 10 year – what a privilege to get to continue to build into her and watch her flourish and grow as a leader through her participation in this project!
The Food Farm is divided into two sections – one acre of vegetables, where volunteers helped us plant in 280 lbs of seed potatoes, 56,000 carrot seeds, and thousands more of peas, beans, lettuce, cucumbers, squash, corn, onions and beets. Last week I harvested our first offering of fresh lettuce and delivered it to Riverside Mission for them to serve it as salad to 40+ families and individuals. What an exciting day! (If you want to follow the unfolding story of the Farm’s impact on our city, you can check out the Mosaic Food Farm Facebook page.)
In the second section we planted in dozens of fruit trees and bushes, thanks to a $4000 Tree Canada grant. As I was planting in these gorgeous apple, plum and pear trees with a group of Wakamow staff and volunteers I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I have been invited to participate in a project of this scale. The fruit trees and bushes we put in will be still be there producing blossoms and fruit to share for decades to come. That stand of trees is a sermon without words about the abundant, generous God we serve, and my participation in the project as a pastor and Jesus-follower is another sermon without words about His heart for our city.
Another article about the Mosaic Community Food Farm: