Homesteaded during Martin Van Buren’s Administration in the 1830’s, the Himelick farm has existed as a family farm for seven generations. My great, great grandfather, George Himelick, raised his family of twelve children on this property starting in 1893. My grandfather, Verlin Himelick, cared for the land for nearly fifty years. Much of the farm remained in the USDA Conservation program for over 25 years adding to the soil fertility and allowing the farm to rest.
In the fall of 2005, I began the conversation with my grandfather about the possibility of our ministry, Victory Inner-city Ministries, purchasing the farm on contract and starting with Community Supported Agriculture as a way to fund the operation, keeping the farm a working farm. Following approval by the Himelick family and the Board of Directors of VICM, the purchase agreement was executed in June 2006.
Under the direction of Dan Perkins, a graduate of Taylor University’s Masters in Environmental Science program, the farm expanded from 22 CSA members in 2006 to 100 shares by 2008. In 2009, Melissa Chase, our first intern became our second farmer. We added a pick-your-own black berry and raspberry operation and began experimenting with grass-fed beef and pastured pigs. In 2010 our fifth growing season, Terry Himelick became our third CSA manager. We added more animals and forty-five more trees in our growing orchard. In the past eleven years (2010-2021), Victory Acres has had five more farm managers or assistants. While Victory Acres continues to draw on its rich heritage of traditions, we are constantly welcoming new people from all walks of life to our 114-acre farm in North central Indiana.
We have also had the privilege of training over seventy-five agricultural apprentices and interns from nine different colleges and universities in small-scale, sustainable agriculture. We have been thankful to share our farm and our learning experiences with them.
We have also hosted forty-one long term ministry guests at Victory Acres, coming to us from homelessness, from addiction, from prison, or other challenging circumstances. While we don’t hold ourselves out to be “drug rehab program,” we try to walk the road with whomever God sends our way.
Victory Acres is a growing Christian Community where our vision is to make disciples and to equip Christian leaders who will engage in God’s global mission using agriculture. Developing housing options for our many long-term and short-term guests remains a top priority.
In addition to many generous donations, the farm has also been supported by the 81 tons of organically grown fruits and vegetables we have grown which help to fund the mission and vision of the farm. Some of the ways that we hope to expand that mission include:
- Setting up RV spaces to host more seasonal guests.
- Cutting and constructing rustic cabins to be used for guests.
- Establishing more tent camping sites and a system of trails.
- Finishing and decorating the Prayer Chapel as a place for reflection and worship.
- Raising even more fruits, vegetables, beef cattle, chickens, and eggs to share with our community through an expanded farm store.
While Victory Acres is a work in progress, after 15 years we are still here, and we are still growing! Welcome to the farm! We hope you’ll come grow with us and become part of the story.
For the Farm,
Eric C. Himelick, Executive Director
Victory Acres Farm
A division of Victory Inner-city Ministries, Inc.
5311 S. 800 E.
Upland, IN 46989