Last Saturday, EMU, JMU, and Bridgewater students teamed up to help handle some of the work at Our Community Farm. The students all met at the Friendly Food Co-Op located in Downtown Harrisonburg one early afternoon, and carpooled to get out to the farm.
As they all piled out of cars, they met with one of the men living on the farm to be taken on a short tour of the farm and to also learn what work they would be doing. They were handed a compilation of activities including weeding, moving loads of wood, digging up old plants, moving piles of dirt, putting down wire to serve as table tops for plants, getting the ground ready for new planting, and learning about those living on the farm while doing all of the work.
Sophomore Jacob Lester led the group of EMU students to visit the farm. He said his experience “connected him with the community.” He also commented on the effort “the farm makes to be sustainable” and how “[he] really admire[s] their work.”
The farm grows crops to sell to the community at Harrisonburg’s Farmer’s Market. It greatly benefits the farm to keep producing more produce. The farm is also used as a Christian Work Recovery Community. They “seek healing and restoration for those whose lives have become unmanageable.” They do this by “the spirit and guiding principles of Christ and his teaching.”
Those in recovery live on the farm and help take care of it as God works through and in their lives. They are able to deal with their addictions in a safe, drug-and alcohol-free environment. All of the people who participate in the program live in the one house together. They share daily work and meals together.
The farm has been around for a little over three years. The farm leaders are Ken Wettig, who is also the director, and his wife Emily. The house leaders are Tripp and Karen Ennis. The recovery group starts in March and takes in eight adults. Profits from the Farmer’s Market also help to pay for those individuals seeking recovery, but may not have the resources to pay to stay on the farm.
As the students have gone to help by digging up dirt, weeding out straw- berry patches, and moving wood and dirt, they have helped the farm’s vision and shared in the community. After the team of students left the farm, Wettig said he received a text message that read “best volunteer day ever!”
First-Year Kegan Yoder comment- ed on his experience, saying, “It was fun to be able to work outside with my friends and knowing what I was doing had a tremendous impact on the community.”