The "State of our Farm"
In early 2014, I wrote an article for Abby'smagazine describing my love affair with growing my own organic food in my yard for the past 30+ years. The article got Abby Sayler's attention, because she had been contemplating an educational platform for expanding her health mission to include growing your own organic food and achieving a more healthy sustainable lifestyle. In late spring that year, we had a lovely dinner together where she shared her vision of thatenterprise and ask if I would be interested in carrying out the mission.
In November of 2014 we purchased our farm, cleared, trimmed and improved the land; renovated the farm house and cast our vision for what was to become Abby's Organic Community Farm, Inc.
That plan was very comprehensive and extremely ambitious for something that was not being done here locally......and certainly not in our size and scope. It would include: an education area; greenhouse; raised beds; hydroponics; tower gardens; permaculture; fruit trees; herb/medicinal plants and trees; intern housing; beautification, recreation/play areas; traditional row farming; and blueberry farm.....that would all be accomplished through volunteers that shared our vision. We incorporated in the spring of 2015 and engaged The Foundation Group to assist us with applying for our non-profit status and achieving a 501(c)3 tax exempt designation. We received our approval from the IRS in March of this year.
Having said all of that, the progress and milestones that have been reached so far.......
We reach out by email to roughly 1600+ people monthly that have asked for information
and want to stay apprised of our activity and progress......
Of those, we have close to 100 that have filled out a Volunteer Application, with roughly
25% volunteering at the farm on a regular basis.....
Those volunteers have accounted for roughly 780 hours of volunteering since our first
volunteers (4) met in August of 2015.......
The most recent data showed we had about 4,000 visitors to our website (abbysfarm.org)
monthly and we routinely have between 500-1,000 people reached by anything we post
on Our Facebook page........
We have conducted 10 workshops serving 150-200 people, educating them about the
various methods and best practices for growing their own food.......
The first phase of our raised beds were built and installed during the summer of 2015,
in time for the volunteers to have our first fall gardens. We are beginning work on the
second phase currently and will be completed this fall.......
In November last year our good friends at Urban Roots donated and installed our tower
gardens and hydroponic project, which was able to produce a lovely winter crop. We
hope to at least double the size of this project by year end.....
Also in November, 2015 our greenhouse was delivered and built in December of and
became operational for starters and micro-greens in early 2016.......
December continued to be a busy month, with our good friend Laura Dougherty from
MegaFoods, agreeing to sponsor our Herb Project and bringing a huge container of tools,
seeds, gloves and resources for the farm........
In March 2016, thanks to our friends at Shells Feed & Garden Supply our chicken coop
was delivered and we began work on our chicken run and making preparation for the
chicks. The varieties we wanted were ordered and delivered this summer........
Our Moringa grove was started the next month in April by a wonderful group of young
ladies that were members of a homeschool group. They started the trees from seeds
and brought them to the farm in pots and planted. Since then, we've added about 10
more trees and plan to expand this project........
The farm was busy fulfilling the vision we started with to have interns involved at the
farm. In May we welcomed our first intern, Maddie Berg. She is studying Organic
Horticulture at Michigan State University and we said farewell after she spent her
Summer making friends, working hard and representing us well in TV interviews and
even an appearance on the WFLA Daytime show.........
In June we received a wonderful gift from our friend and board member, Dean Collura of
The Collura Group, that agreed to sponsor our Beautification Project. This allowed us to
add fruit trees, butterfly plants, tools and paint for that project .
We feel pretty good about our progress in just 21 months, but we have Big dreams and Big plans for our farm. Our first Advisory Board will meet in September and we have a great group of volunteers that have agreed to chair the various committees that organize and carry out the mission for our projects. This fall, we already have several field trips planned for homeschool groups, whereby we will serve 100-150 students with farm tours, science labs, nutrition information with fun and games.
If you are interested in learning more about being involved in this exciting project, contact David at the information below. As stated earlier, we are a nonprofit charitable organization that relies on the support of people and businesses that think what we are doing is important. We would love to talk to you about how you can get involved financially at any level, to make sure this next generation is educated about living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
The "State of our Farm"