The 411 Food Fair

Growing at Faith Farms for the winter are mustard, turnip and collard greens, also kale, beets, broccoli and cauliflower

Growing will continue this winter at Gary's urban farm

Contributed By:The 411 News

A chat with Freida Graves – manager of Faith Farms

The popular Nigerian phrase 'it takes a village to raise a child' is often truncated, removing 'raise a child' and replacing it with a cause that also demands community support. And in this instance, it takes a village to operate a farm.

Especially an urban one, like Gary's Faith Farms, a ministry of Progressive Community Church on 6th and Carolina. Evidences of the farm's continued growth since its first plantings in 2016 are seen in today's fruit trees, hoop houses, chickens, goats, and ducks.

The ministry learned from growers in Gary and around northwest Indiana, took gardening classes, and earned public and private support.

Freida Graves, the farm's manager said a new partnership was formed this summer with local food growers through the Community Supported Agriculture program. CSA is a form of crop sharing where customers can buy local, seasonal food directly from farmers.

Customers buying CSA boxes at Faith Farms found fruits from a farm in Dyer, peppers and onions from a Gary grower, and tomatoes, onions, squash, herbs, and greens from Faith Farms.

"We check with the farmers to make sure they are organic and growing safely without herbicides and pesticides," Graves said.

Soils in Gary may be contaminated with lead if the garden plot is on land that once was the site of a home. Other soil contaminants come from the steel mills, Graves said. "So we and other growers plant our crops in mulch instead of soil and some use raised beds."

Faith Farms also welcomed local sellers who make their own food products. Graves said, "There was no charge for them selling. We wanted them to be able to show what they do."

In the ground for the winter growing season are mustard, turnips and collard greens, beets, broccoli, and carrots. Floating row covers will be installed. Even in a hoop house, young plants need to be protected. Growing will continue as long as the temperature is above 35 degrees.

"Eggs will be available year round," Graves said, " but not as many as we had in the warmer months. Hens don't lay the same amount in cooler months." People buy duck eggs too. Graves said some bakers like them because they provide more moisture.

As for the goats, Graves said, "We are not selling goat meat. In the future, we would like to have goat's milk for people who make skin products."

Story Posted:10/12/2020

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