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Solving the Institutional Farming Dilemma

David Obermiller Darren Greenfield
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What is sucessful institutional farming? We will atempt to define the term and goal as well as evaluate the cost. We will also look at how to attract and keep a good farmer, correct accounting and budgeting, and keys for sustainability.


  • January 18, 2018
    9:30 AM


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Dear Father in heaven we are very grateful for what you doing here at this conference and for what YOU DOING IN OUR LIVES IN FULL of the opportunity to cooperate with you in the great work of redemption in Al lives in the lives of others that we minister to and father. We want to follow you we want to as we just heard in the last sation we want to do what you say and leave the results up to you so please Lord in this time here as we talk about solving the institutional dilemma we pray that you will help inspire us to see that these. A bigger picture than perhaps we normally look at when we think about making it successful for so bless us in this time we pray in Jesus name I mean. OK. It's not a thing that institutional files really struggle how many of you have had a real struggle to make you work or had a history at the place that you work of the fire going up and down and sometimes being closed and and all of those challenges Well I working at and looking back and learning of the history of the family and it's been very interesting that it's at times it's gone forward with a burst of energy and enthusiasm and lots of money being put in and then all of a sudden ways all this money going and we spend all this money and nothing's happening and it's not coming back in and and then the rains get pulled back and that stops and that family goes away discouraged and and so the cycle seems to go over and it's not unique to us it's been pretty common in a lot of institutions and so you know we have. Prayed and thought and been seeking to know what is it that can really bring agriculture bad. You see back in the day agriculture was an excellent means of industry to bring money into the schools to provide employment to students and to help support the institutions and keep them going but as you heard last night Paul Gregory's presentation the green revolution has completely changed things food is so cheap now that you just can't look at a farm is an industry anymore to bring money into support the schools in the institutions it's just not viable and so what do we do to try to solve this problem. One of the biggest problems with sustainability of Alphonse is keeping promises. The tenor of a farm is one of the major causes all loss of income and for the failure of our Found this because it's such a high tenor in these reasons fold the big turnover of institutions and perhaps it's because we are looking at the wrong thing we're looking at numbers as dollars as the the the the. Measure of success. And so first I want to just look at why would somebody want to fire at an institution it's really hot for institutions to find Fama as we get Coles and contact all the time we need a farmer from all over the place and. They just not out there and the ones that successful out there are a bit of a burden you know hearing having worked in an institution or having heard about it found was that have had experiences working in institutions and I'm not really interested to go but why would somebody want to work at an institution is a fine. Well perhaps the the main reason would be conviction and devotion to God's work. You don't have to read much in the counsels that we've been given to know that it's part of God's plane and so conviction is probably the number one reason some. Experience found is in fact a lot of times somebody that's loves God and has had a bit of experience God and gets hired as a follower and doesn't have any commercial experience inside they want to get the experience in and do it they love the work. They have hope to see the promised results because Hasn't God promised amazing results from Alphonse that are integrated into our schools. They believe the blueprint and for some it may be that working at an institution is for the benefit of the children like it we we have an academy and we have a college and. There's an attraction sometimes that they children can go through the school and it's a reason to go there and work so perhaps you have other reasons as well but I was really encouraged that I saw that they were promoting and giving this book out how many of you went to I saw I DO YOU HAVE YOU said this book was being distributed and how many of you have actually read this god speed a full file in the story of medicine Ok few of you have said this book is very inspiring if you haven't read it I really encourage you to do so it's. It's amazing it's one of those books you just want to put down you want to read it through and and and hear the story of how God laid Joe I was going to say Joshua and Caleb they are the Joshua and Caleb of Adventism I believe who stepped out of the faith in the face of all kinds of opposition to follow God's will and to. Really do something revolutionary and God place they work it was amazing how the success they had at this school but sadly in the nine hundred sixty S. The school has shut down for various reasons which you don't have time to get into but the dream is still alive in the hearts of meaning to see this return and back to this amazing beautiful farm that that. God blasting can bless and all our institutions. This out of coal which probably comes from about the same era as Madison was. Was studying was another school it was a comfort school I want to share the cycle with you because it actually. Caught of I think in caption lights the blessing of stepping out and following God's plane even though it doesn't seem to fit with what we. Used to and this is from the administration Sabbath here old maid nine thousand nine hundred four and it says and the guy talking in here he was the one who wrote this he was the education leader for the General Conference and he was really encouraging the schools to follow God's plain. And he says as we have presented in these out of holes the instruction which the Lord has given us regarding else schoolwork it must have been often felt by the reader that in many respects we have not carried out this instruction in a practical way it has seemed impossible to put the work into operation Israel schoolwork is now conducted to do this necessitates changes and where can various ways this is not surprising however for our whole work as a people is reformatory requiring continual advancement Now we notice this what I've put in bold change in the school year in one of our full article some queries we have mentioned which could only be oncet by suggesting that the school year coincide with the agricultural season in no other way can study in agricultural lines be the A B. and C. of the education given and now schools I believe that this is very very relevant what was highlighted here you know we have a school calendar that doesn't coincide with the growing season and if you're going to grow food during the school year you have to invest in a lot of expensive infrastructure greenhouses and all sorts of things and when there's a big investment in that you expect there to be a return on the investment from the income and it just doesn't happen and so what they did in the school carry on reading the article they actually change their calendar year so it coincided with the agricultural Yes really reveal Lucia Neary says we need not repeat the various statements which can only be. Conformed to by having our schools and sation and the students in attendance in the spring summer and fall an educational campaign is needed for our people to enable them to see the necessity of having their children in school during these months of the year when alone they can receive the lessons which the Lord says they should be taught many objections raised and as much as this is different from out from customs of the past they has long been a feeling on the part of many that the school year should be thus changed but the movement has not been generally undertaken for lack of support from the patrons of the school in the school with which the rider is connected this subject has been studied and discussed for the past three years with the result that the people of the conference have given their approval to the change suggested and the school is now running on the spaces. Our present year began March thirty and the blessings have already received sieved as the direct result of the change have exceeded our expectations the Lord has moved upon the hearts of the brother and a goodly attendance marks the first year of this new order nearly all the students now in school remain through some A in full now with new full classes beginning at this time and with school work closely related to the opening season of growth with some nice Assyrian changes in the daily programme we find a life and inspiration never before experienced Alpha is a delightful listen book and the consecutive nature study of spring summer and fall enables us to make the school work not only more profitable but Farmall delightful we now have an opportunity to open before our students minds the treasure of knowledge and pleasure associated with country life I'll say this seems much nearer when studying resuscitation can be conducted amid the surroundings of trees birds and flowers than in a poll events lighted classroom in the winter season school discipline is entirely different Christ in his redeeming love can be brought more vividly and consistently before the minds of the students and thus the great aned of all no work is more readily reached another change will be in the studies pursued by the pupils more of nature study agriculture horticulture Flora culture except for being introduced and lists of the studies of and less of other studies at one time we must make the book of nature a stain next to the Bible mental and physical instruction must be balanced in the students' day life and this and the article doesn't in the about for the sake of time that soul I'm sharing with but I read this it was so inspiring I thought well this is really the answer if we want Al if we want to agriculture to flourish and ask goals if we want to solve the dilemma that's really I think in my mind the onset to it if we try to make you know if you've got a square peg to fit in a round hole it doesn't go does it just and so trying to make agriculture. Be viable when it doesn't even count inside with the year and then you've got all these other school activities going on and trying to have the work consistent it's really really difficult in. So it's no wonder that El Al's school firearms are struggling financially when they don't sync with the the needs of the five. So why do farmers leave institutions that have a look at that for a minute financial pressure would probably be the number one. Great expectations on the Fama that the farm is going to make the very successful and it's going to be profitable and A as the time goes by and it's not the money isn't coming in. It becomes very discouraging for the farmer and he's made to feel or perhaps he's not made to feel but he may. Think that he's a failure because the money's not covering all the expenses that's coming in. Perhaps it could be from lack of experience and short term Fadia because you might not do well one year but you have to wait another year to implement changes that you've learned from that year and. It's very easy to get discouraged in the short term without perseverance to learn and and change. Others at the institution done understand the blueprint as the farmer understands it and you seem to be on a different page than everybody else so that leads to discouragement farmers where Codd and sometimes they don't feel valued and appreciated they have lack of help when it's needed the most and it seems to be a disinterest in the need on the phone. And then they see others working much less so for hours for the same remuneration and so all of these things and you probably have a longer list than this as to why from this belief but the truth is that many farmers leave institutions discouraged and they're looking to green A fields and different institutions or other places where we should be easier this book here called the feel fields of learning is actually a compilation all of. Basically. Institutional funds all school files across America not administers just any school. And. There are many it's sunny they like to a three page. On why the farm is the area and what they are doing what their philosophy is and how it's working and I was fascinated as I read through this book to see that basically institutional farming is not working in general it's not Adventism that it's not working it's across the board as far as finances go. But many of the schools in it and these institutions despite the financial difficulties and the challenges they continue to go forward because there is a higher purpose isn't there than money to have these. These in these schools and many of them actually student led It's amazing the students actually in some of these colleges and demanding that they want Layne to have agriculture and some of them are actually even taking time out from their. Education to do one year of farming just to get the experience. So I encourage you to read the book a sin expensive book actually it's about forty dollars but. If you're in institutional farming I think you'll find it beneficial I think we also have to look at the big picture of farming farming is not profitable anymore like it used to be here's some statistics from. The government in two thousand teen farmers and ranchers in the medium annual income of nearly sixty one thousand that's not a lot for the investment that there isn't a fine if you're looking at a business from a business perspective it's a very poor written. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor sists hysterics the top ten percent of families in the field made about one hundred seven thousand a year while the bottom ten percent made less than thirty thousand so it's not a very. Pretty picture financially when you consider that the a in some of these farms probably have perhaps millions of dollars invested in in the. Equipment and in the land and so forth. So what are the options that we have for a viable sustainable fire at our institutions I believe that if we want to have a successful fire we really need to wholeheartedly follow God's plane you know it's one thing to have the token of a fire at an institution where. It looks like you following the plane because you have a fire and you have a family but it's another thing to integrate it as God has said to have the children you know the students involved to have the teachers involved to have it as an integral part of the program and I don't believe God will bless our if it's Until that happens and so solving the problem has to be there has to be buy in from the board there has to be buy in from the teaches and the principal and all involved and I believe what God is doing here with the egg recall chal Association the conferences and and the recordings on already of us is becoming more and more not you see the council hasn't been well known and. You know I went through college it wasn't until I actually finished college that there was a guy there by the name of Ayn Jones who knew some of the council and started sharing it and I got inspired by it and started to implement what I could and it's lead me to what I'm doing today and so David I've Millis here is going to present after me but he put together a compilation cold the green print and there is councils in agriculture that John deicing and put together and there's another one called Hope in the soil Ollie's and now and is out there and people are reading them and conviction is coming a poem. A lot and so I think I really believe that there's going to be a return to God's plan and I believe that. There is going to be a revolution in the has to be because a lot of say that he's going to cut his we're short in righteousness and how does he cut the were short of righteousness not muddy waves the want to see. Something magic happens and it all of sudden finishes righteousness is right doing and when he cuts that we're short and righteousness it means that his people come back to his plane and do the righteous thing it with that he is said to do in education is a key component to the finishing of God's will so I really believe it's going to happen so the two options that I see here for billets is to if you want to have a successful you have to have. A file that's willing to work at your institution and you really need an experienced Fama. If it's going to be viable The other option that is being. Done at a few found. My family day visit. And I believe Great Lakes administer ketamine Michigan the leasing option is being done but I don't believe that's the right way to go it's one way of making it work on the current circumstances and we'll just probe into that a little bit and then. David's going to Shia more so funny successful Fama willing to work in an institution where do you find a file. Well I believe that you'll have more success outside of America they just there's just such a shortage. Of us here. Maybe you'll find one here a lot of there's been quite a few that have come to this conference for the very purpose of finding a file and some of them being successful. He needs to be along to my budget to help the BE A as stablished if you're looking at very short term and thinking that you're going to have this farm turn around in a year or two not going to happen the industry in the industry then expect to. Make a profit for five years so why should we think that we're going to do it any beta and so we need to have a long tuned budget that is going to sustain the fire so when you get a fire and you find someone willing to do that they are not going to. Be discouraged because they haven't made it in a short time. You need to have more than just a token fire to attract would like to say more but my time is running out but I think you understand what I'm saying the. The nice to be earnest prayer and a willingness to do God's will if we really innocently seek the Lord and pry God will open the way it's what he wants the devil doesn't want this to happen he does everything he can to try to squash it and prevent it from happening and. One conference President told me that. They were implementing agriculture into the school he said in all his years of ministry he needed a soul the devil works to prevent it from you know to prevent that from happening than anything else he'd seen the devil try to do so. Yes So that one of the other things we need to do is change our accounting practices. And this is a pretty important thing because sometimes the accounting records make it look a lot worse than it actually is and. In the institutional accounting procedures there's something that's called overhead distribution and how many of you are familiar with that anybody heard of it and so I've had distribution is basically all the expenses that I can nail down to a department and it just gets spread out over every department and it's kind of like a tax and I don't know what it is we but. It's twenty five percent So whatever you'll gross income a tax of twenty five percent gets added to your expenses and it's not really that I get that money it just shows as an experience so you've got twenty five percent extra experience beyond what really is is actual experience so I believe that if we want to make. Appear to be to be doing to actually how do I say it. To be more accurately portrayed thank you then I think we should have a different way of accounting to show the reality. We need to make a clear distinction between capital expenses and annual supplies because the same as you put annual capital expenses as an annual experience it looks like you're running at a huge loss but any business these capital experience and they can be a lot of capital experience so. It needs to be distinguished and then the other thing is to allow the Fama to make financial decisions within a budget seems to be a clear budget say it that. That is agreed upon and then give the firemen the freedom to work within that budget and say well now you can have money for this and so on so they need to have the freedom and the responsibility to make it work. Now I'll talk briefly about the leasing option. This is working it's working for David it's working for for me and it's working out great lakes I've been to the cademy it's working with a broken system. However it is keeping the. Viable and going but it's I believe it's a temporary Band-Aid until we fully integrate and have the school and. No one knew but we happened. OK I think I became unplugged. OK So basically. The lease is basically a legal agreement where the Fama been takes out of the financial responsibility for the five So in our case it's a token of one dollar a year so it transfers a financial responsibility to me where I pay all expenses the student wages if I hire students and. The bills and it does work the Lord has placed been doing it for two years and I prayed when when I was given this wasn't something that I chose it was something that was kind of put upon me and I prayed and said Lord if you want this farm here and you make it work and I'm willing to do my part and he has certainly done his part of my list and so. One of the things that after the first year the we were paying rent when I was on wages inside for the first year I wasn't charged but it turned out at the end of the year that we actually made on the file the equivalent of what I was paid when I was on salary and then I was asked to pay rent and. What I did was I asked them I said well you know this is always money that needs to be spent on infrastructure on the farm and that's not something you get you know and immediate return on would you be willing for that rent money to go into the fire to actually be spent on infrastructure which is a permanent basement and they agreed to that and that's really a blessing because now. We can improve the file. So. I believe that would be part of a viable lease to have some money that can be spent on infrastructure and then I think also. Lease option once seen that it's a satisfactory arrangement I mean as far as on and now case nothing else has changed we work exactly the same with the school everything else as is the way it used to be it's just the finances that have been shifted and then. As far as students go we have students that come to the I teach a class for the call a judge and it was actually proposed to me by the administration that they would actually pay me for that time that I have students and teach students just like any other teach in the classroom would be paid and so that helps a little bit with giving me a little bit of income. Especially with farming you have the majority of the year not ending you know and then when your crops start coming in harvesting then you have an income so it gives a little little bit of money to carry through. And then during the summer. I have prayed and said Lord if you provide the help that I need then we can make this thing work and so I've really depend on the Lord and he has provided good student help to work in the summer and that has been a real blessing because you can have students that. Benefit from working but they're not productive and if you're paying them then that's money going straight into the hall that you don't see any return from in so I'm very careful who are Hala and but I believe that that has been key to make it viable I wish I could say more but we have one hour to present this an opt out how often David has the other half and he's going to. Address the small but I hope that what I have shared has been a. Has been helpful as you consider your own personal situations. So I run a harvest field organic farm we're on the campus of Fresno advice that Cademy I'm not going to tell you a whole lot. My presentations a little bit different I think in a very complimentary way to Daryn's who's a little bit more practical nuts and bolts and talk kind of big picture for a few minutes but I do want to tell you briefly about the farm Fresno advice Academy wanted to start the farm four years ago two thousand and fourteen No I came on board January fifteenth and I want to say a whole lot for the sake of time but I want to say that it was really. Financially driven decision not to there were other factors that influence the decision to start a farm but there was a lot of financial influence wanted to start an industry many of your familiar schools are struggling financially looking for ways to generate revenue and the farm was thought to be a really good way to do that but as Derren pointed out typical business especially farm is going to be a good five years to profitability it's not realistic to expect a farm to generate a profit a surplus profit for a school. That was realistic plus the church as a denomination has a lot of expenses that normal businesses don't incur. Our retirement benefits package medical package paid holidays vacation time on the denominational level the denominational wage scale made it quite difficult financially to start a farm lot of extra financial expenses that we could not avoid being under the church's umbrella that we are able to avoid being a separate organization so in addition to being a separate business we're actually incorporated as a nonprofit the state of California we are part farm production farm so we grow and sell produce thirteen acres on our farm not all of it's currently in production. We run a C.S.A. and sold direct to retail local grocers and restaurants and want to start a farm stand here in the near future to. We're all certified organic and that's all fine but a big part of what we're doing. It is the mission of incorporating agriculture and education that's why we incorporated as a nonprofit that also allows volunteer workers if you're for profit business that's a legal take volunteers with very very few exceptions even internships have gotten a lot harder under current. Current rules but as a nonprofit I can take volunteers and take in turns quite easily We're working with four schools right now helping them develop elementary school gardens primarily and a little bit on the high school level too and I didn't think that it was reasonable to expect a production farm to pay for mission activities so we incorporated as a nonprofit so that we could split the balance. You can come to this debate I have people that are you know friends they debate this with as an administration on a school campus are you a business or you ministry. I have friends that we debate back and forth about this is well how can you run your ministry if you don't run a good business I So what are you running a business for if you have no purpose. If your purpose is money what are you doing it for. So we're trying to slip that balance. But also I want to say about the farm it self. Nothing come at four o'clock I want to ask you a question how do you measure success as a personal question it's not just a hypothetical rhetorical question how are you personally identifying success where you are OK production. Is. OK. It's OK there are thoughts ideas. That's true thank you so answer my question you said students being in contact with nature their comment previously was harvest OK how else do you define success and I have done this in five categories financial success finances is the default parameter for measuring success in a business either you are making money or you are losing money we measure success on the basis of finances if you are farming in connection with the school perhaps you measure success by academics. Does the farm does the garden benefit the student academic life does it raise G.P.A. is does it keep kids out of the classroom so they're not doing their homework and so their G.P.A. and test scores go down how does it impact academic performance there's plenty of studies that Demick demonstrate that hands on learning benefits academics so you could be measuring the farm's impact on the school from an academic parameter you mention the number of students do we measure success by the number of kids that are working on the farm that are that are learning skills work ethic etc Or do you measure spiritual character development. And how would you measure that that's a great question when you measure influence the influence that you're having on the kids influence of the schools having on the community through the farm I've I've definitely connected with people through our farm that I would not have connected with in other ways just a touch of my personal background I work for the denomination for ten years before going into farming work for sols West as an evangelism school run in the Pacific Union conference teaching kids to do Bible work and a lot of literature evangelism work and I've knocked on a lot of doors given a lot of Bible studies preached a lot of sermons to people who. Would not be interested in farming but I say In other words a lot of administering they are interested in food and farming and sustainability and that sort of thing and the flip that question around the statement around through farming I've met and be the friend it a lot of people that I would never be able to be friend through bible or can call border work and handing out literature and tracks and preaching sermons and evangelistic series and your typical flyer in the mail for you know marginally kind of thing how do I measure that influence there could be more things we could add to this list my question is how are you measuring the success of your program. How do we collectively in this room measure the success of a farm garden on a school campus now as a denomination how many of your conference schools by the way. A few self-supporting independent and how many of you just private. Couple. How do we. Interacting with our school administrators our conference administrators communicate what success would be if I'm going to step onto a school campus and start a program they're going to have their own definition of success so I don't only have to meet my definition of success I have to meet their definition of success of them depended upon their money for sure or I have to shape their perspective of what success would look like so again how do you define success how do we define success in this room and how do we communicate success to those beyond this room our administrators in the conference schools churches whatever we view the community garden school garden how did they understand success and measure it on the same page with you I don't want to say a whole lot again about our farm and our particular circumstances but I know that finances were a big issue in Fresno madness Academy and I made the mistake of allowing stepping into a situation where finances were too much of the measure of success and that's not to be Little them at all there's a lot of circumstances that the school is dealing with so just don't read too much into that comment schools have tremendous issues in our church tremendous issues in our church and that was not a criticism it's as if we weren't on the same page and our understanding of what success was and how it should be measured was not not right either so I've learned some of this the hard way I want to look at a couple things let's take financial success for just a second. The influence for good that the manual training work has exerted over the students over balances the financial loss and would overbalance that if it were ten times as large as it is so if we only measure the success of the program on the basis of cash profitability this would be success even if you were losing money how many souls in this worked excuse me how many souls this work has helped to save you'll never know till the Day of Judgment. If we're measuring success purely on finances we're missing the real picture. Not the finances isn't important what about academic success. Academics is really important especially in our world this is from councils on education if the US can have a one sided education and it is asked which of the greater consequence to study of Sciences with all its disadvantages to health and life and not to get into the health issues involved in schools and Ellen White's day but the Study of Society says is an academic thing it's what split kids go to school for today's academics the study of the sciences but she asked the question which one's more important academics or the knowledge of labor for practical life we unhesitatingly say the latter if one must be neglected lit it be the study of books so I'm really into promoting agriculture benefiting academics but if that's my only parameter for success she says that's not the most important factor. Here's a couple more quotes Council of the teachers we're our church she says is to be guided by true theology and commonsense you know that. Many of us actually think that our church is guided by sola scriptura Bible alone well if you ponder this we are to be guided by true theology and commonsense but where does common sense come from and look at the next quote This is education page two twenty practical work encourages close observation and independent thought rightly perform to develop that practical wisdom which we call. So what's the value of the farm to our church if our church is guided by the Bible and common sense but you don't have common sense because you don't have practical work on your schools what's the measure of success how is the lack of practical work influencing the decisions made in our church every day on a common level What's your measure of success what about spiritual success this is a quote one of my favorite quotes or at least one of my most important quotes. I've been led to inquire must everything that is important in our youth be sacrificed in order that they may obtain an education at the schools if there had been agricultural and other manufacturing establishments in connection with their schools and competent teachers have been employed to educate the youth in the different branches of study and labor devoting a portion of each day to mental improvement and a portion of the day to physical labor there would now be a more elevated class of youth to come upon the stage of action to have an influence and molding society she goes on. The use to a graduate of such institutions would many of them come forth with stability of character they would have perseverance fortitude and courage to surmount obstacles and principles that would not be swerved by wrong influences however popular now a share something with you fifty percent of the young people in the Seventh Day Adventist Church a conservative number fifty percent of the youth in the administrators leave the church immediately after graduating from high school well documented well researched church data fifty percent of our young people leave the church immediately after graduating high school and do a little bit of math with you this is two thousand and sixteen you can find some of this data. On the general conferences archives and Statistics website there are about fifty three thousand Seventh Day Adventist students in our U.S. schools are actually more students than that with some of them are non administrations fifty three thousand and seventy AD going to students in our schools so I just picked a random number let's say you divide that by twelve grade levels OK and I forgot pre-K. do want to count that but every year about forty four hundred kids graduate from an admin since the two shown in the U.S. half of those leave the church that's twenty two hundred now let's do a little bit of financial math the average wage in the United States is about fifty thousand dollars multiply that by twenty two hundred you get eleven million dollars That leaves the Church every year when those kids leave the church now let me ask you how do you measure financial success of a farm if the farm is contributing as the previous quote said if the farm is contributing to the character development of the young people keeping them in the church she said that they would not be swerved by wrong influences however popular if they stay in the church because of their experience on the farm when they graduate from school get a job they're going to pay their ties of money by the way that eleven million was just tied it to five thousand dollars a year on fifty thousand came up with eleven million that does not count offerings. Levon million dollars a year that's just one class graduating but next year another class is going to graduate half of them are going to leave the church and the third year another class is going to graduate so three years from now if not eleven million dollars a year that the church doesn't bring in and revenue from Ty is paying attending church members but thirty three million dollars The Church is losing every year but this is a problem that's been going on for decades how many hundreds of millions of dollars are currently leaving the church because our educational program is designed or is not designed to keep those young people in the church let me ask you a question how do you measure the financial success of a farm on a school campus from that perspective and our denominational leaders and our educational leaders are well aware of the statistics that half of our young people leave the Church every year and I'm not just blaming it on the lack of farms in the schools either there are a lot of reasons why young people leave the church but I want to challenge you what is your measure of success if your farm is losing money but you're educating properly and that has a financial return upon the church later in life how do you measure that and are you successful because you're losing money or are you failing because you're losing money on your farm so I can tell you what I think and you know in an hour we can't as the titles of the the work as the institutional dilemma we can't solve that in an hour but I'll tell you what I think is my biggest Our biggest challenge and that is recognizing that the school farmer garden is not about money or academics but about the opportunity to transfer spiritual values to our use. Now the Bible says Seek ye first the Kingdom of God in His righteousness and what happens. All this other stuff starts to come back to you so I'm going to invite Vanessa Guillard here I'm going to share that so you get on there. Are farm harvest fields is a unique form and is not replicate able to everyone else we are nonprofit you can't all become nonprofits you shouldn't perhaps. She has a Bakersfield advice Academy a unique story that I think is equally as relevant as what we're doing on our farm and has a story I think that benefits everybody and we've kind of summarized some ways where you can meet the challenge of identifying success to yourself and communicating that success to your other administrators whether it's school or conference wide so I met Vanessa I share about two years ago i Shares a evangelism conference in the Pacific Union and she came up to my booth and asked for help because you struggle with Bermuda grass Unfortunately I have more experience of Bermuda grass on my farm and I wish I had. The bit that's where we started our. Our partnership an educational farm based ministry so I've been helping Bakersfield Academy for the last couple of years and what I want you to do is to start your story for me Tell me where you were about two years ago so two years ago my son was about to enter kindergarten so I decided to read the book education and when I read that and I saw how important it is to have nature incorporated into education I thought we need this at every school and so I went and presented that to the principal and said hey I want to start a school garden and so that's where he started but now you go to a school administrator and say I want to start a school guard. And it's going to require money and Mossad missiles don't have what OK So they are sold out of the county and I happen to be a little bit familiar not lots of extra cash flowing around there what you do so with lots of prayer I mean that's a key thing lots of prayer. And I told them OK I want to start this school garden I won't require money from you I'll raise all the funds I just need your land and need water and show me where to do this if you'll let me do this and I also on top of that I showed him a plethora of Spirit of Prophecy quotes on why this is important and told him about that he said he presented to the board OK so how many of you here farming now how many of you farmers like selling stuff to people. I mean I know you like the money that comes from selling things to people but how many of you feel like salesman. Very few of you raise your hand and I think honest truth is that a lot of us don't like being salesman but what she had to do was a little bit of sales but you notice or sales technique sketches I don't want anything from you except a little spot of ground correct and that's certainly the case of Bakersfield Academy they had some land work using a Fresno out of us Academy same way got some land not using How many of your schools have land that they're not using and get lots of hands on here so you said to them and I think it's a really important thing I just need your permission I'll take care of everything else if we're going to make this succeed and we're going to have to take ownership for this ourselves that might mean some sacrifice she's not getting paid for this she's a volunteer for she took ownership of it as a volunteer and then provided solutions I think is really important many of our administrators we can't just criticize our schools these guys work a lot in my office faces the principals window my barn office window faces the schools principals window and I see what time the light goes off in that office every day because I'm there to. You guys relate to that why don't you so they're overworked and guess what they don't have politely have a clue what to do. They don't know about farm business management farm marketing strategies that they don't know about growing stuff tools equipment maintenance like organic certification they don't know the stuff so you took all that on and you said to the I want your permission I'll take everything else word you go from there from there and I knew. When Fay approved it and showed me where I could do this I knew about I needed to raise money and that's something that I looked into by applying for grants there's lots of grants Now it's interesting that our agonists cools we were there original people that were supposed to have gardening and farming incorporated to it but now in the public arena it's tons of different grants and opportunities where people want to support having education and farming together they want kids in the dirt and so it was very easy to go and look online and to see what kind of grants were out there and on top of that I think that keeping is to communicate with your local churches communicate with those around you and tell them this is what I want to do this is the vision catch it like share what you've been reading share the things that you want to do in most people they want their kids to have a hands on experience growing plants they want that thing for their own kids and they will support you but you have to be brave enough to ask and to ask specifically for it's it's so when I thought we needed certain. Things in the garden I would ask us if we like oh we want to have a fence or we want this and asked people can you donate towards that and as they saw all how involved I was in it and on top of that how the program looked so we did a couple seminars as well and when they came to the seminar and they saw that the garden was coming together really well and it was organized it was clean. Which also leads to many clues Yes nine ten whatever your hand find this if you do it with all your might it shows him people will believe you when they see that you're doing with all your money in the details of how you're keeping your farm or garden organize that the shelves are aligned perfectly or things are looking clean and you're not just letting it go to a mass I had people come up to me afterwards and it's like. I like what you're doing I see that you're working hard I want to support it how can I do that and so we raised twelve thousand dollars to start this garden and then I was able to use been able to use the money freely and easily and we still have people coming out saying I really want to support this we have doctors and different people just seeing this and coming of summer hearing about it hearing maybe even parents coming in saying my kids want to plant potatoes at home now because they they were pulling them from your garden and we don't have a clue what we're doing but it's just it's really interesting to see just how if it catches fire and people start wanting to be supportive of something that they see is really affecting their kids because so you help me perfectly they're affecting their kids because this is not just about asking parents or doctors or other organizations for grant money for donations this is about the kids and how are you getting the kids into the garden. And you said when the kids go home now they want to plant potatoes at home and it starts to spread like fire in the influence of a kid now when your kids become your salesman they're going home to mom and they're going home to their church the kids become the sales and how do you get the kids into the garden to begin with so relationships are important it's interesting that we're called to love our neighbors we're also called with the teachers to communicate with them to ask them hey can we have your students come out to a school right I mean maybe at first it's not a structured curriculum maybe it's not you don't start with OK this is what we're going to do you need to implement this because teachers some of them they've never even been in the garden in fact at. Me sadly to say our biology teacher he had never even looked taught the plant section of the biology book because he wasn't familiar with it was just skipping it but now we're working with him so that's. Been taken care of but here's the interesting thing is teachers have themselves haven't been in the garden or in the farm and so we just ask them Can we have your kids come and we'll teach you will teach them will will do the work basically and the teachers are learning as they are there with the students too and eventually we have certain teachers that are asking every all the time I want my kids in there I want my kids in pretty Now they're asking mean they want their kids in the garden and they're asking me for my time and so it's really exciting because they're getting excited and they're seeing the difference in their students they're seeing how they're connecting I we had one student who had a cut irrigation pipe and what she said afterwards was so fast just like that is so satisfying as we can kind of agree but just because they're getting out of their norm of sitting at a desk and being confined to a small space and just instead of looking at math problems like OK I have to measure a piece of paper but wait they don't understand that because it's just words they get to do it in see it and they get to experience and so to them all this and it becomes satisfying it's exciting to see that in action you know once you start to develop these relationships with these kids. And start to teach them things are going to start to value you differently too I was down in Bakersfield working with her and some of the other volunteers she's recruited to it's more than it's more than just a couple people you need to ask for help ask for volunteers especially in a school campus you need the volunteers not just for you like her and I and a couple other volunteers we can do the work but we need the volunteers so that it becomes their program not just our program on their campus so there was a young man named Moses Moses pretty disengaged kind of guy and I took a few minutes with him this was last school and I showed him how to use a ratchet strap you know ratchet straps are course had no clue how to use a rash just taking a moment showing him how to use a ratchet strap got me a little bit of a relationship with him and then he actually likes me now and he wants to do more stuff so he was kind of out in the garden they were bored and I said hate Moses he said Yeah I said he you want to use a post hole digger he was like yeah. And then there were two other boys they wanted to use a post hole digger because one boy was using the postal to get you know it never use the postal digger before you know what it was when I asked him Do you want to use it and just getting them in gages and they get excited about it and was she was saying that starts to spread but we have to we have to take ownership of the US and realize that we need to help the schools whether it's private or denominational independently or whatever we need to help them come alongside them and help them make it happen and not just tell them that it needs to happen yes it needs to happen so we have to help them make it happen by taking ownership ourself that's going to put some of you out of your comfort zone a little bit you have to go up to people and tell your story and ask for donations ask for volunteers talk to teachers get the kids out in the garden and then soon that will start to create momentum and momentum will start to come your way again we have to stop being a little bit over time a couple minutes but four o'clock please be here let's all talk together there's a lot of experience in this room that we need to share with each other and inspire each other with so we'll pause here don't forget we'll take a fifteen minute break and got a couple of schools coming and when we close with a prayer Father in heaven I thank you for all of us sitting in this room this rooms full and as such something about what's going on in our church and to pray that you would bless us the rest of this day as we talk is as a group of. Fellow believers in something particular and that is agriculture and education that you would help us to learn from each other be inspired by each other and to move forward and what we're doing for the sake of our young people our church for the mission of our church in Jesus name. This media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio first if you would like to listen to more sermons leave a Visit W W W audio for.


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