What a year we just closed out! It seems like we are always propelling forward with the next step, plan, strategy, etc but I’d like to take some time now to fully recognize and share what we accomplished together this past year, because (as my family would say…), we are so stinkin’ proud!!
- Sola Gratia Farm is now a 501(c)3 not-for- profit corporation.
- We have expanded our acreage and are now growing veggies at the Riggs Beer Co. site and have been enjoying a fruitful and fun partnership with the Riggs family.
- After 5 years with walk-behind or borrowed tractors (many thanks!), we now have our own real tractor!! With the plastic mulch layer and now a new transplanter, we’ll be saving considerable time and our backs!
- We had a very successful first full year growing veggies in our high tunnel, both in terms of quality and quantity.
- We updated our logo to signify our most important aspect: community service!
- In order to expand our services to those in need in our community, we added two new markets in partnership with Champaign Urbana Public Health District and a cooking/nutrition class tied to CSA share with UIUC Extension.
- We secured grant funding to continue these pilot programs and start a new one with Salt and Light Ministry in the Spring of 2018.
- We offered a day camp through the Champaign Park District and bi-weekly programming at Douglass Park Community Garden for the fourth year running!
- We expanded our CSA offerings and partnerships to include fruit, in addition to veggies, bread, honey, meat, flowers, meat and eggs. (Mushrooms are next!)
- And thank goodness we installed a new walk-in cooler this year, because…
We had the most productive season yet!! This year we harvested a whopping 46,216 pounds of produce – that’s over two and a half times what we harvested last season!!! And even better? Nearly 16,000 pounds of high quality, naturally grown, fresh-picked, good food was donated into our community through the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, Champaign Urbana Public Health District, and other partners working on community food security.
Harvested: 46,216 pounds Donated: 15,972 pounds or 34.6 %
We accomplished this together. Arm in arm, our staff, our board, our shareholders, St. Matthew Lutheran Church, our community and mission partners, our market managers and shoppers, our people. Thank you to each and every one of you who have contributed to our continuing achievements and community impact.
I recently read “Farming is a profession of hope.” Knowing we have so many people supporting our farm and mission with time, talents, ideas and care makes it all the more rewarding for Hunter, Tod and I to work on the planning process for 2018. Each of us feels so grateful to be trusted and supported to carry out such a beautiful vision, set in place six years ago. Thank you so very much for being a part of Sola Gratia Farm.
May 2018 be a year of good will for each of us.