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Love, Community & The Planet - The Pioneer Freedge Partnership

It all started with a sentence. All of it - the career change, the long nights studying, the twenty five farm rows. The past three years have been like a strange, exciting race with no finish line. And it all started with one five word sentence.

"I want to grow food".

Like a whispered wish, this idea was the answer to questions I began asking myself in 2020. Like a lot of the country, both my husband and I found ourselves laid off at the onset of the pandemic. We filled our days with meandering walks and homemade bagels and a tiny container garden in our rented yard. This newfound freedom formed questions within me that I had never before found the stillness to ask. Things like - what impact am I having on the environment? What impact am I having on my community? How can I put love into practice? The eventual answer to all of these questions became my shortest journal entry to date on one cool, April morning.

"I want to grow food".

It became the steady drum beat in the song of my days. My compass. I want to grow food. Determined to learn, I read every book on organic growing and market farming I could get my hands on. My tiny container garden turned into a flourishing raised bed garden and before we knew it, that garden turned into a farm.

After just under three years, we received a call about a possible partnership that would afford us the opportunity to provide fresh, organically grown produce directly to families in our community in Elyria, Ohio. The Pioneer Freedge (free fridge) is a food sharing tool located at the South branch Library in Elyria. It allows community members an anonymous space to drop off and pick up fresh, perishable food. It is a valuable resource for community members experiencing food insecurity because it provides options beyond the typical canned and processed foods of a dry pantry. The Pioneer Freedge creates a space for fresh, nutrient dense produce in the middle of a food desert. It was such a simple and necessary solution, I knew I had to get involved. In the weeks to follow, Fifth Acre pledged two-weekly drop-offs to the Freedge, every week of our growing season. I believe that sustainable food systems can only be truly sustainable if they uplift the communities where they're grown. In a truly sustainable system, organically grown food must be accessible to everyone, not just those that can afford to pay an inflated sticker price. This partnership invitation gave us the opportunity to get our produce to the dinner tables of Elyria families who might not otherwise have access to organic foods.

Looking back, I can see that one simple sentence for what it was - the spark. This first growing season, our first season as a small farm, this is the fire. I've never felt more certain that I'm on the right path. When considering big questions around love and community and the planet, what we're really asking about is the thing we all share. That intangible connection that runs through all living things. It is at this beautiful cross section that regenerative agriculture flourishes. From this vantage point, we can uplift one another, share freely and honor the earth.

Find The Freedge

We feel so grateful for the opportunity to grow food for our community through the Pioneer Freedge. You can learn more about our partnership on our community page. Keep up to date with the Freedge through their facebook page and learn more about the Freedge's parent organization, South Side Pride, through their website.

The Pioneer Freedge is open and free for anyone to use. If you are a home gardener looking to do something great with your surplus veggies this season, please consider donating to the Freedge. And if you or someone you know struggles with food insecurity, please give the Freedge a visit. It's anonymous, welcoming and made to help. You can find it at 340 15th St, Elyria, OH.

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