Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Vegetable Box

The vegetable box arrived today! Everyone wanted a peek to see what exotic and not-so-exotic vegetables were inside. Occasionally we've had to resort to Google to identify something, but usually my boss, an experienced grocery produce man (years ago), can not only identify the vegetables, he can tell us how to cook them. 

Here's how this got started.  Will Reed grew up in Tupelo. He wanted to be a farmer, but that is a risky and expensive business. Will ventured into a new kind of farming. CSA farming is community supported agriculture. For an individual, a large vegetable garden can be a fairly expensive and labor-intensive way to have fresh vegetables. For the farmer, it can be difficult to scrape together enough cash to start a crop that is big enough to produce revenue. CSA is a way to let both groups of people work together to accomplish their goals. 

People like me, with not enough time to garden, and those who for one reason or another can't do a garden, partner with the farmer. We pay for a share of his crop in advance, and the farmer agrees to pick and box the crops when they are ready. We can either pick the veggies up at the farm or (for a little extra) they will bring them to us. The farmer has an initial revenue stream and can sell all the extra vegetables throughout the growing season. It helps him to know how much he should plant. We get fresh, naturally grown vegetables from a person we know. It's the best of both worlds, and everyone benefits from the arrangement. 

This works the way the church is supposed to work. Some are farmers, some are investors. At Native Son Farm, some are even interns and volunteers. All are a part of the Community Sponsored Agriculture project. No one is unhappy because they aren't the farmer, volunteer, or intern. The Reeds are happy with the job they have, too. This arrangement works, just like it should. Wouldn't it be great if the church worked like this?  Think how much we could accomplish. Think how many lives could be affected. 

The challenge for tonight is to consider your part in the body of Christ. What is your role? How well are you fulfilling it? What do you need to do differently in order to "make the arrangement work"?