A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Campti Field of Dreams (DREAMS) is dedicated to improving quality of life in underserved communities. They do this by developing and implementing programs in four areas: cultural heritage, green rehabilitation, sustainable entrepreneurship and local food production. It is the local food production initiative which brought CTCYM to their site. For the past two years DREAMS has operated both the Jackson Square and Campti Community Gardens and last year they added a marketplace to each site with the sole intention of making affordable fresh fruits and vegetables accessible in low-income neighborhoods. Due to the heavy rains and subsequent flooding, neither garden is operational so the help to get the 25-acre Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Farm (SAgFarm) going was greatly appreciated. It is on high ground in Campti and they hope to get a late summer/early fall crop in.
“There are no coincidences, only divine providence” said DREAMS executive director, Donna Isaacs. “I am not a regular Walmart shopper, but it was a brief encounter there that I learned about these missionaries coming to Natchitoches.” After a few calls she was able to get in touch with the program coordinator and get on their schedule. Given a choice between working in the community garden in Natchitoches and clearing land in Campti, she was surprised they were interested in taking on the more arduous task. Having had the pleasure of meeting the students and learning more about the program she understands the depth of their commitment to service. Each participant had to pay $100 and then fundraise an additional $250 for the privilege of coming on this trip. They prepared for a year to come and serve. They worked willingly and cheerfully, taking on the mammoth task and when they were done, the SAgFarm had an outdoor classroom. To her amazement, even though they were hot and sweaty, several of the teens came up to her and thanked her for the opportunity to be of service.
“Words cannot express our appreciation as this area will serve as a focal point on the farm and facilitate formal classes and informal discussions on anything from growing your own healthy food to starting an agri-business,” said Ms. Isaacs. DREAMS also works with ex-offenders, mentoring them through the transition period needed to become productive citizens once again. She points out that the program is designed on the systems approach that God has given us. There is no waste in nature. Just as the dung beetle can bury 250 times its weight in dung in one night, we can help those who society has marginalized by teaching them how to produce organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and value-added products, for-profit, thereby reintegrating them into society. A fellow volunteer recently reminded her that, “God opens doors that no man can close.” She counts this as one of those doors and is glad that He has found her worthy of this mission.
For more information on Campti Field of Dreams or to get involved, you may visit their website: http://www.camptifieldofdreams.org or call 318-332-7791.
A big Thank You to the First United Methodist Church of Natchitoches for hosting this great group of youth in mission.
J. Q. Collectif