AN UPDATE BY VICTORY ACRES' EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ERIC HIMELICK
Dear Victory Acres CSA Members,
In the past eight seasons, the CSA and the farm have come a long way. Almost 300 different families in nine different Central Indiana counties have participated as members of our CSA. In these last eight seasons we have trained 35 interns, raised over 70 tons of vegetables, and paid off over half of the farm’s mortgage.
While the farm has a larger mission and vision of helping inner-city people in need, in many ways the CSA has become a ministry in itself. Providing families with weekly shares of fresh, locally-grown foods is good work! The development of community and bringing people of divergent backgrounds together around a common table is no small thing. Helping to train future growers and those interested in cultivating good food is work of which we are proud. Sharing our inspiring story, communicating what we are learning, and spending time with those who come to visit and to learn with us is certainly important work as well.
What is God’s plan for Victory Acres, and how does it fit with what He is doing? Those are questions that we have prayerfully been asking.
Finishing eight seasons as a functioning CSA is no small feat. Most don’t make it. It’s a lot of work. It’s a big commitment to plant, cultivate, and harvest for 120 families each week. Spring rains, summer heat, unexplained crop failures - it all takes a toll. In the past eight years, we have had four different CSA managers. They have each had their own style, and they have all learned from the experiences of the managers before them. Next year will bring another new manager.
Our CSA has changed every year since we started, and 2014 will be no exception. As we look to the future, we are planning to scale back. Our plan is to focus on doing more with less. We are in the process of hiring a manager with the goal of integrating our ministry goals and agriculture aspirations. While our membership numbers will decrease in 2014, we plan to deliver the same quality food. In scaling back we hope to focus on ministering more to needy people and to use more unskilled ministry guests in our operation.
Some things won’t change:
- We’ll keep growing the best Certified Naturally Grown, local produce you love.
- We’ll keep sharing our farm for weekly distributions, picnics, and trail walks.
- We’ll keep the “Community” in Community Supported Agriculture with great annual events like Think Outside the Barn and Pie in July.
- We’ll keep adding value to CSA memberships by adding fruit from our maturing orchard.
Going forward, we need members who understand the risks - people who value the farm both for the good food that they receive and for the good work that their food dollars are supporting. We need members who are partners - people who are in it for the long haul, who realize that their involvement is a long-term investment in local food through good years and bad. We need members who will grow with us, using their resources and connections to help us make the most of the farm. Thankfully, Victory Acres already has a lot of members like that, and we are thankful for each one of you! We want you to continue to invest in us.
2014 will be a year of change, and we hope that you will plan to change with us. Change can bring great things, and it is our hope that next year will be the best yet. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, and we want an opportunity to address yours.
As we reflect on the past and look to the future, we are inviting you to join us for our Second Annual Victory Acres Visioning Event. It will be held on Saturday, November 9, 2013, from 9am-11:30am at the Avis Community Room,1909 S. Main St., Upland, IN. This meeting will address specifics of next years' plan as well as Victory Acres' long-term vision. It is open to anyone who is interested, and you don’t need to RSVP. We hope you’ll plan to join us.
If you have questions about the meeting, please contact Eric Himelick (317) 331-0119,
In Christian Love,
Eric Himelick, Executive Director