Thursday, June 25, 2009

Care for Creation "Pilot Project" Initiative Getting Organized!

This past week the Care for Creation project (C4C) being held at St. Bernardine's in Hollidaysburg (see recent blog entries) entered a new phase of organization and development. We held the "first round" of four committee meetings covering various areas of responsibility related to this initiative. The committees are the following: Communications Committee (mainly responsible for promoting the initiative to the larger community), Festival Committee (responsible for planning and holding two festivals related to the rhythms of the growing season; on August 1st we will have a "Summer Bounty Festival" and on October 24th we will host a "Fall Harvest Festival." These festivals will be the primary way of promoting the C4C project to the larger community), C4C Committee (responsible for laying the spiritual foundation of the C4C project, drawing mainly from scripture, Christian social teaching regarding stewardship of the earth, and the Franciscan heritage of Care for Creation), and the Budget Committee (responsible for making sure we don't spend too much ;)

Beyond the need for organization, the rationale for forming committees (besides the fun of having meetings....I'm sure our Br. John Kerr, a "meeting-aholic", is green with envy ;) is to build collaborative relationships that will empower leadership and build community. Additionally, if (and hopefully when) the C4C "Pilot Project" transitions to a Community Supported Agriculture garden (cared for full-time by a farmer and not volunteers), these committees will be instrumental in animating the project with relational, communal, and spiritual values. Another important aspect of a successful CSA is to have an advisory board comprised of volunteers with the requisite skills needed to oversee a CSA. In anticipation of forming such a leadership board to run a future CSA, we have formed a C4C Advisory Board consisting of 5 directors (a team of friars and a local Master Gardener who is also a Secular Franciscan), one Garden Team Captain (who oversees four gardening teams), and a chair from each committee. At each of these committee meetings I shared with those in attendance my conviction that this project has exceeded my expectations and we have an "embarrassment of riches" to be thankful for. We are anticipating a wonderful harvest of both produce and relational, communal, and spiritual fruits! Pat, TOR