Challenge of Community on Freedom Farm, Agape’s Sister Community – By Ann Rader

I’m alone again – in a big old chilly farm house – on 59 acres of land – peeking over this screen, out the office window to sun on snow. This land is a gift, longing hills slope to meet the tiny Shawangunkill River, protected by young sugar maples and ash. Deep beneath her snowy banks, waits the red tinged clay. Near the northern ridge, above this brick 1860’s farm house, sit the hoop house, solar panels, and “barn,” warmed by woodstove and sun. This is Freedom Farm Community.Ann Flower But, the community is not here right now. The labor of the community network is captured in vibrant photos such as youth harvesting red and blue potatoes to share with folks at the food pantry. Community support is written in letters, loving donations, whispered in prayers. All of this is crucial – each sign of commitment, each weed pulled – a full-on blessing. A sign from God–of help. A reminder to keep on. Spring is nearly upon us, when the pace quickens, and the farm begins to buzz. Thirsty seedlings, weedy beds…interns, volunteers, guests come in waves. So many come to visit. This is good. Sometimes it’s hard – and our hospitality fades.   Prayer and Sabbath are essential. Building community can feel like dating. Will he come back? This doesn’t feel right. Am I being too picky? Is there a partner for me? Josiah and Micah, our sons, will be home from school soon, laughing and fighting again. Edgar will be home today from the firehouse. This is very good. Will there be another one who is truly “called” to this place – this holy mess -coming home? Freedom Farm Community is a Christian-based farm that shares organic produce with neighbors in need and does youth and young adult ministry through farm work and prayer in community. We are currently seeking interns, volunteers, and – a partner to help us run the intern program, etc. Intern application available at email [email protected], or call Edgar Hayes or Ann Rader (845)386-8117. The growing season is upon us — come join the adventure! Edgar and Ann pioneered Freedom Farm after Edgar’s internship and long association at Agape. Recently Edgar and Ann have partnered with Agape to discern membership in Agape’s Mission Council. We are looking forward to more collaborative efforts and sharing interns and volunteers.