by Colin Ingram
Franconia Mennonite Conference is known for working with ministries and churches “in engaging the world through witness and relationships” with “Christ as the center of shared and individual vision.” One of the ministries the conference does this with is Living Hope Farm (LHF), a tenant of the conference for the past six years.
The conference acquired the land known as Indian Creek Road Farm in 1955 with the vision of utilizing it for mission work in the community. In the early 2000s, the conference was faced with the possibility of selling the land to housing developers, but instead sought out a tenant that would use the land for ministry and connect to the conference mission of “equipping leaders, to empower others, to embrace God’s mission.”
Henry Rosenberger, board chair of Living Hope Farm (LHF), says, “Living Hope Farm grew out of a renewed sense that the ‘earth is the Lord’s.”
Living Hope Farm is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in Harleysville located off Indian Creek Road. Beyond growing food, the farm seeks community between farmers, CSA members, market buyers, foodbanks, and the underserved. By growing food organically and inviting members to participate, LHF is engaging the world through relationship.
According to Sheldon Good, writer of an Intersections article about the newly launched LHF in 2010, the farm is “a chance to rediscover values of corporate faith, local food, and loving community.”
LHF also impartially connects with persons of various financial situations and abilities with its mission to serve the disadvantaged. Donating the first and best of the crops to food banks and low-income programs may not be a face-to-face way to build relationships, but it connects with the conference’s mission of witness by relationship.
Franconia Conference and LHF meet on mission, sprouting with food as the platform, and reaping loving community where people are empowered to follow God.