To eat well.
To have a more organic connection to the food that we consume.
To fill our bodies and lives with food that nourishes rather than simply fills us up.
But how is this possible? Too often the purchase of such foods comes with a high price tag. The more organic the food, the greater the expense. Yet, growing these foods yourself is not without its own difficulties and expenses.
And where to even begin?
Let me tell you the story of Drs. Larry and Carrie Chapp, two professors at prestigious universities who gave it all up 5 years ago because they had a dream – a vision – not only to learn sustainable farming for themselves but to use their resources to give back to those in need; to provide locally sourced, healthy foods for those that cannot afford them.
But they are going even further than this. Following the mission of Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day (Founders of the Catholic Worker Movement ), Larry and Carrie Chapp are seeking to make their farm an “agro-university” – a place to pass on their knowledge of the practical skills of farm life to anyone who wishes to learn.
How did they get here?
Going back to the land and sharing this with others was something on their minds and hearts for many years, but it wasn’t until April of 2013 that they finally made it a reality.
They purchased a 110 year old farm house and set about the task of turning 11 acres of a former dairy farm that had not been in use for 50 years into something viable.
The first task was the renovation of the farmhouse, which was uninhabitable due to insect damage to the foundations. That took several months and a lot more money than expected (which is usually what happens when you start ripping open such an old house). Next came building a strong fence around 7 acres to be used as vegetable fields and pasture for the sheep and goats. They then got their neighbor and new friend to plow their field and disc it so they could plant their first crop.
In the following five years they have learned so much about what to do, and what not to do, in growing produce! They have also increased their herd of sheep from two to five, added two dairy goats, and around 30 egg laying chickens. They sheer the sheep themselves, process the wool, and knit clothing for the homeless.
Most of the produce is given away to food pantries and local churches. The eggs they share with local families in need of help. The mighty egg is an almost perfect food and really adds to the nutritional content of a meal so they are always happy to share them! And while goat’s milk isn’t for everyone, they do find those that are happy to receive a bottle or two.
In all of this, they have had their share of both total failure and unexpected success. They have learned that farming is not just a “skill” but a whole way of life and a spiritual state of mind.
The work is very hard and success is not guaranteed, so when success does come the joy and gratitude are powerful.
In just 5 years, they have seen a dream become a reality…but they continue to dream and envision the expansion of the farm as a place to feed others and as a learning center as well.
And they feel like they are just now getting started.
They want to expand their vegetable production into a part of their land that has been plagued with water problems. To do this, they need to build some water diversion barriers and canals.
They want to expand their production of wool from the sheep but in order to increase the number of sheep, they need to build a larger shelter for them on an undeveloped part of their property.
They want to increase their flock of egg laying chickens but that requires building a larger chicken coop.
Many people also visit the farm hoping to learn about raising sheep and processing wool (which includes spinning), canning vegetables, milking goats, raising chickens, growing produce and so on, but their meeting space capacity is very limited.
They have a vision to start Peter Maurin’s vision of an "agronomic university" where they teach artisanal skills like spinning, sheering, milking, bread making, cheese making, canning, vegetable farming, and carpentry, but they lack an adequate meeting space for doing this efficiently.
Running a farm and building this agro-university requires many resources.
And this is the best part of the story.
Larry and Carrie don’t just want to build this farm for themselves, but they want to help create a cultural and community movement.
This is where YOU come in.
Your donation not only makes their dream possible, but through it, you become a part of this dream.
Your donation helps to provide healthy, locally sourced food to those in most need. Your donation also helps to create a center where people can learn how to cultivate these skills in their own homes and communities.
This is a gift that gives back; a gift that keeps on giving.
Give to the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm today - Because eating good, locally sourced, healthy foods should not be the privilege of a few, but the right of all.
Thank you for your generosity!
Questions? Here are the facts:
· 100% of all proceeds go directly to the farm
· 90% of all food and goods from the farm goes directly to charity
· Donations are not tax deductible
· Donations will go towards the following:
-A new shelter for the sheep and goats
-A new chicken coop
-Water diversion barriers
-A new structure for meeting/teaching spaces.
-Continued expansion of the farm and vision
Want to learn more? Check out the links below!
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm Website
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm Facebook Page
Article on Dorothy Day by Dr. Larry Chapp in Communio International Catholic Review
Information on the Catholic Worker Movement
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