The Good News!
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A Healthy Harvest in Conway Village
It was a hot, clear spring day, when the fields were being planted by the Davis family behind the Elementary School in Conway Village. Jake Davis was sticking his hand in a slurry of organic fertilizer preparing the mix for the tractor.
Sarah Davis was taking a seat at the back of the tractor across from Ceilia Wilcox as the blades prepared to cut the weed tarp, and the tractor was to give a squirt of fertilizer so the two women could insert plants into the soil, row on row.
The natural farming of Jake and Sarah is a three-point program. They offer prepaid Community Supported Agriculture Shares, which account for half their harvest. They share their harvest weekly to help with food insecuri- ty in the Village through the Tuesday morning Brown Church Pantry and the Monday night Dinner Bell community meals programs. Then there is their mission to create an Agricultural Literacy, the economics behind the farm-to- fork reality of organic food production, with High School and Middle School youth.
“Students meet with us every Wednesday for six weeks. They plant seed and small plants, spread the row covers, help with the ‘pollinator plots’ (flowers) that border the fields, and learn how to work with nature – it is a partnership that gets results they see at harvest time.”
Students work in teams, get hands-on experience, and learn to work cooperatively for a common purpose.
“Some students need to move to learn, to be resilient as they meet roadblocks to success. Failure is part of life, and our children need the confidence of trusting each other and a process that leads them forward.”
After harvesting, each student has organic food to cook at home with their parents.
“Pizza Night seems to be the most popular choice”, says Sarah, “The pandemic resulted in children and fami- lies feeling isolated, disconnected, with a lack of social interaction. Our program is collaborative. It’s about sharing our disappointments and finding a way through, as well as, offering a healthy meal to be shared by our families.”
Sarah is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor, who graduated from Southern New Hampshire Univer- sity. She mentioned a pilot program offered by UNH for the Mental Health of farmers who have been overwhelmed by the pressures they faced. This year there was an abundance of groundhogs, coyotes, deer, and black bears ready to take their piece of the harvest. Twenty-three days out of the 30 in June saw rain. The wet and cold conditions would slow down the growing season by several weeks. Jake would return night after night to cut furrows for the
water to drain, an increase of 50 percent labor. Rick and Celia Wilcox would patiently travel each row of plants handpicking the bugs as insecticides were not to be used. The weather conditions favored bugs.
“That’s part of farming”, said Sarah, “learning to live with the bugs and giving them their share is part of it, although we try to limit the damage. It takes a family commitment, a shared vision.”
When asked what she gets out of farming with all its challenges, Sarah reflects, “I love working in Nature. I watch Jake in his zone as he works the tractor. There, surrounded by buzzing bees, the chirping of birds, the touch of the wind and the warmth of the sun in the Swift River floodplain, you have a spiritual feeling that you are part of something much greater than yourself. Gratitude is why I do it, it brings me a sense of wholeness.”
Visiting the farm field of the Davis family, you realize they are doing more than growing vegetables and flowers in Conway Village – they cultivate community.
Reverend John G. Hughes
(originally published in Conway Daily Sun, Friday, September 1, 2023)
Outreach ~ Food Pantry
The Food Pantry needs help with the Thanksgiving “Baskets”
The Food Pantry is looking for volunteers to help put the Thanksgiving bags together for our pantry clients. We are planning on meeting after church, approximately 11 am, on Sunday, November 19th. We will also need help distributing the Thanksgiving Dinner bags to the pantry clients on Monday and Tuesday, November 20th and 21st, from 8am to 2pm. Your help is greatly needed and appreciated!
Paul and Sylvia Weld are looking for two people to become Coordinators for the Food Pantry starting January 1, 2024 for the second and third weeks of each month. After 15 years, we are looking to step back. Training will be provided. Anyone interested please contact Paul or Sylvia at email@example.com
Thank you and God Bless
Paul & Sylvia Weld
CVCC Food Pantry Coordinators
From the Trustees
Thank you to everyone who volunteered to help with the fair this year. This includes preparing and cooking the crisp and working in the booth during the fair. Volunteers put in 418 hours prepping and cooking and 304 hours working in the booth.
The weather during the fair was not the best “crisp selling” weather. Eighty-degree days and one rainy washed out day did reduce sales. We made 486 pans and sold 359. We grossed $35,115 and after expenses we netted $25,300. We were down $5,000 from our budgeted amount.
We have over 100 pans left, which are now frozen and ready to sell. Pans are $35 each and a great treat to bring to family gatherings now and over the holidays, events, or just to have for yourself! Contact Melody at the office to get yours!
November is when we start working on Stewardship and working on the next budget. Your pledges help greatly. As we all know, the budget is a tight one and expenses keep going up. The Trustees look over the financials on a weekly basis. Ideally, our pledges and fundraising would cover the expenses, but they do not.
We continue to have to use endowment funds. However, those funds are depleting, and likely will only last another 2 years. We will discuss further with everyone at the annual meeting in January 2024.
Save the date for the December 2nd event. It has expanded this year. If you are interested in helping out, contact Nancy Irving or Dawn Vitters.
Board of Trustees: Chair: Anne Getchell, Asst. Chair: Nancy Divine, John Edgerton, Duddie Andrews, Nancy Irving and Tom Workman, ex officio member, Treasurer
From the Deacons Bench
As we enter the month of November, thoughts move to the coming holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. These are special times spent with family and friends. They are also times to reflect on the many blessings we receive and share those blessings by giving to others. In a time when many folks have concerns about supporting their families, our church’s Food Pantry and the Din- ner Bell offer comfort and help with food security. Sometimes we think, if we can’t be part of a “big program” or give “big things” we can’t give anything. I believe a card to those who are unable to leave their home, a smile and a “good morning” to start
someone’s day, a phone call “just to check in” on someone, time spent just talking and listening to a friend—small things make a difference and can be a blessing!
So let us give thanks through the coming holidays for the blessings we have received from a loving God and pass along those blessings to others.
A Thanksgiving Prayer
Lord, so oftentimes, as any other day
When we sit down to our meal and pray
We hurry along and make fast the blessing
Thanks, Amen. Now please pass the dressing
We’re slaves to the olfactory overload
We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold
But Lord, I’d like to take a few minutes more
To really give thanks to what I’m thankful for
For my family, my health, a nice soft bed
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head
I’m thankful right now to be surrounded by those
Whose lives touch me more than they’ll ever possibly know
Thankful Lord, that You’ve blessed me beyond measure
Thankful that in my heart lives life’s greatest treasure
That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place
And I’m ever so grateful for Your unending grace
So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You’ve provided
And bless each and every person invited
Diaconate: Judy Workman and Louise Saxby, Co-Chairs; Beth Campbell, Dawn Vitters, Nancy Divine