"You give them something to eat" – Jesus of Nazareth
Thursday, August 2
5 Loaves Farm first started as an after school program with a garden. Over the years the gardens have grown considerably; along with that growth, our involvement with youth from our community has grown as well, and remains a central part of what we do here…
This summer nine teenagers, all residents of the West Side or Riverside neighborhoods, are putting in 20 hours of work with us on the farm. They learn the roles of farm work; how we plant seeds in hope, responsibly care for our seedlings and animals on the farm to ensure they grow, weed out anything that detracts from that growth, water & fertilize to encourage that growth. We even compost to use garbage to actually help our vegetables grow bigger, and flowers grow brighter. After all this hard work, we harvest the fruits of our labor and bring it to market, to share with others the good things that are growing.
We believe the same process is going on in each of the youth we work with. We are planting seeds, investing in the goodness already inside of them. We give them responsibility and see them take hold of that… or not, but in the process learn how to take responsibility the next time. Our staff, the staff of the 716 Ministries Work Readiness Program, and volunteer coaches that work with them one-on-one, pour into these young people and help remind them to stay clear of the distractions that can derail their hopes and dreams. We explore together how even the garbage in our lives, the bad situations we come into, can be redeemed and turned into the very things that help us grow stronger. And finally, we see how all this leads to healthy fruitful things growing in their lives; good things that will bless them as well as the others around them.
It’s amazing to see how they embrace and grow into this reality. Ah Wei, who’s in her third summer with 5 Loaves Farm this year, posted the photo above on her Instagram feed with the caption, “Youth who want to change and contribute to communities for the better.” These young people are becoming the positive change agents that will be shaping our community in the years to come.
It is really for this reason that all of 5 Loaves Farm exists. We grow gardens in the hope that they will be a tool and an inspiration to all of our neighbors, that together we can redeem the broken places in our world, that together we create beautiful things, that together we can be healthier and more fruitful.
So know that when you support 5 Loaves Farm – volunteering, donating, or buying our produce – that this is what you are supporting, this is what you are helping to grow in our community!