TIPP CITY — It’s quiet in the greenhouse now, but soon it will be a busy center of activity and filled with growing things — both of the plant variety and the seeds of a thriving community farming program.
That is Jennifer Myers’ dream for the The Farm at Ginghamsburg Church, where she has established a new ministry centered around community agriculture.
“There’s a lot going on and we don’t even have a plant in the ground yet!” Myers said, laughing.
The church has operated The Farm for years — her work there even helped Myers fund a trip to Israel when she was in high school — but she has big plans for expanding the operation to involve more of the community.
Myers recently established a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) and the Sprout Club, a free gardening club for kids, out of a desire to teach her three young children about healthy eating.
“When we had our first child we were like, okay, we’re going to get healthy and eat healthy and teach our kids farm-to-table,” Myers explained. “So [the land] was just sitting here and they needed it to be cleaned up, and I thought, what are we going to do with this?”
The Sprout Club aims to help kids learn about gardening, nutrition, and even business skills, as participants will have opportunities to sell their fruits and veggies at farmers markets and to local restaurants, Myers said.
The club is open to kids ages 8-12 and will meet a few times a week to tend to their garden plots.
The Sprout Club was recently awarded a Miami County Foundation grant, which will be used to purchase boots and other gardening tools for the children to use and store at the farm.
The goal of the CSA — which includes deliveries of fresh produce to member’s homes, composting services, and community plot rentals — is to directly involve the community in the risks and successes of the farming process.
The CSA supports other Ginghamsburg ministries and missions.
Anyone in the community is welcome to rent a plot at The Farm, which Myers hopes will be useful for people who don’t have much room to garden at home. The Farm will till the plot and provide a water source, and renters will be responsible for planting, weeding, and harvesting.
People can sign up for weekly or twice monthly produce deliveries by purchasing shares or half shares in the program.
“The farm is for the community. It’s a place to come out here and renew, rest, relax, connect with your family,” she said.
Myers has a lot of big plans for expanding The Farm — she plans to be able to donate produce to local food pantries and wants to teach people to turn their produce into healthy meals. She also has plans for cooking classes for the children and wants to encourage program participants to show their produce at the county fair.
There are also some local restaurants interested in buying produce grown at The Farm, Myers said.
Myers is also planning a farmer’s market that will be held on Saturdays in the Ginghamsburg Church parking lot. The market will run from the first weekend in June through September and will feature not only produce grown at The Farm, but other local vendors and ethically sourced, fair trade products.
Myers also dreams of expanding The Farm and Nature Center facilities. A coop for chickens is under construction and there have been improvements made to walking paths, but she also hopes to build a pavilion where people can spend time — and maybe even an outdoor kitchen one day.
“We have a dream that we’re going to build off of each year,” Myers said.
Check out The Farm on Facebook at www.facebook.com/growersandpickers or visit www.ginghamsburg.org and look in the “missions” section. These programs are open to anyone in the community, not just members of the church.
To get involved, contact Jennifer Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 570-5093.
Reach Cecilia Fox at email@example.com or at (937) 552-2205.