This resource includes five local examples, typical tasks and responsibilities for the congregation and farmer, provides a recommended timeline and details how to integrate a farm stand into the life of a congregation and its surrounding community.
Farm to Congregation: A Handbook on Starting a Congregational Farm Stand documents the experience of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO) launching five different farm stand models with local faith communities. It outlines the typical tasks and responsibilities for the congregation and farmer, provides a recommended timeline and details how to integrate a farm stand into the life of a congregation and its surrounding community.
Purpose of The Project
The congregational farm stand project has 3 major goals:
1. Provide new markets for immigrant refugee farmers
2. Raise awareness about local food and community food security within faith communities, and encourage faith communities to directly support locally grown food
3. Increase access to fresh, local food by low-income people
The congregational farm stand project is designed to raise awareness in the faith community about the importance of supporting local farmers and building justice and equity in the food system. It builds relationships between faith communities and farmers, giving producers and consumers an opportunity to understand each other’s circumstances. The program also facilitates low-income residents’ access to locally produced food and increases consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Finally, it offers new economic opportunities to small farmers by expanding the customer base.
In the spring of 2007, the Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon partnered with five Portland-area congregations that expressed interest in hosting farm stands during the summer months. Two of the congregations had participated in a pilot farm stand project in 2006 and three were new to the project. The weekly farm stands took place after Sunday services and offered new market opportunities primarily for local immigrant farmers.
In January and March, informational meetings were held with prospective congregational partners. In May, the participating congregations began planning for the farm stands with the support of a project coordinator from EMO. Congregations met with participating farmers, worked out logistics, gathered volunteers, and created the publicity needed to implement the farm stands.
One church hosted a Mother’s Day farm stand on May 13th offering locally grown flowers. All congregations began hosting regularly scheduled farm stands in June, offering locally grown vegetables and flowers.