Mother Carr’s Organic Farm & Migrant Bird/Butterfly Sanctuary
Vernon Park Church of God (VPCOG) is an African-American congregation with a membership of nearly 800. For the past four years, church members have been engaged in environmental stewardship projects and practices as a Faith in Place partner congregation. Their work has included a recycling program and hosting workshops with Faith in Place on everything from environmental advocacy to home weatherization. Most recently they have purchased a large plot of land for a new building, housing, and other ministries. Ten acres of their parcel are set aside as the Mother Carr's Garden Community Supported Agriculture Farm (the CSA). Faith in Place has helped connect them to other models, provided technical assistance, and raised some initial funding for this project, which would be the first African-American CSA in the region. The CSA is meant to provide healthy food for the congregation and its new community in the near south suburbs of Chicago, and it is also meant to serve as the center of a new conservation ministry for the church. Veronica's fellowship will allow her to spend significant time and some financial resources with VPCOG to help them achieve their vision of a CSA as the center of a conservation education program aimed primarily at an African-American audience. This vision includes 9 acres in cultivation, a pond system that releases them from municipal water needs for the farm, and an apiary with a honey coop, together with a 1-acre migratory bird and butterfly preserve and associated educational materials and opportunities.