It’s easy to proclaim beliefs. It’s harder to live them out. We know. We’re trying it. This farm is a faith-based experiment. As disciples of Jesus, we want to tend Creation wisely. We want to satisfy the hungry with good things. We trust we’re not alone in these aims. We welcome you, your family and maybe even your church to discover more about how you can put faith into practice with us.
At The Pantry, we feel a special kinship in ministry with Plainsong Farm, our goals are very similar, we aim to Feed the Hungry: Mind, Body & Soul.
Over many years, I’ve gotten to know the owner of Plainsong Farm, Rev. Nurya Parish, very well. Her passion for integrating faith, food and fellowship is truly remarkable. Many times we’ve shared our dreams for a healthier, happier and holier community over broken bread and beverages. When she approached me this winter about a CSA partnership through their Sow a Share program, I was very excited. The Pantry has been looking for ways to engage the local community in supplying farm-fresh food to our neighbors here in southeast Kent County. Even with agricultural land all around the area, the connections and bonds bringing that food to families right next door are few and far between.
Our pantry has been a part of conversations for the last few years, spearheaded by Access of West Michigan, about not just feeding people calories, but feeding people well. There is a difference between the ‘calories in, calories out’ approach that has dominated pantry service for decades and the movement towards health and wellness that is becoming more prevalent. Having conversations with farmers and faith leaders about this change in directions is crucial to making our neighbors well. Poverty takes its toll on people. Studies have shown that food insecurity, worries about housing and health costs have an adverse effect on the health of everyone in the household, not just the parents, but the children too. Eating well, choosing fresh and healthy foods should not just be the privilege of the wealthy and middle-class.
Our CSA partnership with Plainsong Farms is just in its infancy, but we are hoping to grow it into a great vehicle for exchange, not only of fresh food, but ideas and ideals. Rev. Nurya Parish is helping put the Community in Community Supported Agriculture and you can too! Become a part of something bigger than yourself. The Pantry is asking for financial support to provide healthy, nutritional food options to those in need. More shares are available and are greatly needed. We are asking for support in collecting and distributing this food. Volunteers are a major part of our ability to share over 650,000 meals a year with those in need. The Pantry needs your help to continue to facilitate change on a grand scale, educating the community to our needs and providing information and recipes to our neighbors, some of whom are receiving a variety of fresh vegetables for the first time. Check out last month’s blog about the importance of CSAs to our service model and our partnership with Hope Farms. Visit thepantry.gr/donate to see how you can help!
Many thanks to Rev. Nurya Parish and the Edwardson’s, Michael and Bethany, who operate the farm! Many thanks to you, our donors and supporters, for helping us promote a healthier and well fed community!
Michael T. Merren, Executive Director of The Pantry