What We Do
Food: The small group of folks who met in 2009 to start The Lord’s Acre had a simple goal which was to grow and donate fresh produce to our local food pantry. In our very first year we delivered on that goal by growing and giving away 3 tons of organic produce grown on barely a quarter of an acre. By year eight, a total of 60 tons of fresh, organic produce had been grown and given not only to our pantry but to other local organizations.
Along the way several things occurred to us: 1.) the number of folks needing food assistance was growing, 2.) growing food for those in need was doable and vital but it was not a solution to hunger 3.) segregating segments of the community’s population is not part of the solution.
We began work on a larger vision and a framework from which, we could evaluate our future growth.
Community: We quickly came to see that there were three components to our work: food, community and education. We also began formulating and using the motto: “There are many types of hunger. Everyone’s hungry for something. Everyone has something to give.” And finally, we created a grid of questions that help us evaluate the choices we make.
• Does it bring people together or keep them segregated?
• Does it empower others? Give them a voice?
• Does it empower others?
• Will there be real outcomes or is this just activity?
In our third year we knew we needed to hear from our community. We began a year-long food survey in order to listen to our farmers, pantry clients, teachers, food providers, and citizens. Our Lord’s Acre community was expanding. To do good work, we also needed to collaborate with and learn from others outside our physical community.
Today we partner with groups such as Organic Grower’s School, North Carolina Community Garden Partners, Gardens That Give WNC, Warren Wilson College, UNCA, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Come to the Table, Food, Faith and Religious Leadership Initiative and more.
Education: Education is typically seen as the ultimate solution to most social problems, and while we give and receive a great deal of education at The Lord’s Acre, relationships come first. Knowing what needs to be done and knowing how to do it are one thing. Working WITH people and the land to create something new is quite another.
At The Lord’s Acre, education within relationship takes many forms but is always as personal as we can make it. From children with tiny wheelbarrows in our SPROUTS classes to discussions with college students about food security, we prefer quality over quantity. Our internship program is academically comprehensive yet we emphasize the heart-work aspect of the job.
Classes and workshops talk about what to do but always based on why we are called to do it and what we believe about it. We encourage everyone who works with us to critique our work, give us feedback and help us grow.
What people do is always defined first of all, by what they believe. We believe communities are better equipped to understand and solve their particular issues surrounding hunger, obesity and food access and that given support, they will create their own unique solutions. The Lord’s Acre could just grow food and give it away but that would not involve others, nor would it create relationships which we believe to be key in eradicating hunger.