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Sustainable Agriculture

Coordinator: Elizabeth Stabler


if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
  and the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.  Isaiah 58:9-11

Regular Volunteer Opportunities:


The Harrisburg Catholic Worker House


The Harrisburg Catholic Worker House began in November of 1996, when two men of faith and compassion recognized the need for housing and hospitality for homeless men coming out of prison with drug and alcohol addictions.  It operates in conjunction with St. Francis Catholic Church. Basically, it is a laid back place to go and strives to a positive presence in the community.

History and Overview

The Catholic Worker movement was founded in 1933 by Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day in New York City to implement the teaching of the Gospels and Catholic social teaching, especially the works of mercy. The Harrisburg Catholic Worker House began in November of 1996, when two men of faith and compassion recognized the need for housing and hospitality for homeless men coming out of prison with drug and alcohol addictions. With the generous help of local volunteers, the Catholic Worker House became a reality. Ministering to both men and women on the street, but with only male residents, the Worker House helps these children of God recover from the devastation of drug and alcohol abuse or readjust after being released from prison, in order to regain self-respect. They are offered housing and food, daily prayer services, and a monthly Mass. Guests are encouraged to attend rexovery programs, help with local civic beautification, and extend charity to each other and their neighbors. Under the patronage of St. Martin de Porres, Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, whose love of the poor and underpriviledged was truly awe-inspiring, these souls strive to restore the dignity they may have lost.


Volunteer Opportunities

1. Food Pantry:  always needs stocking and cleaning. Groceries are packed up, ready to hand out if neighbors stop by in need of food.

2. Urban Gardening Initiative:  transforming vacant lots into flourishing gardens which produce flowers and vegetables for bouquetthe entire neighborhood.

3. Just hang out and help out:  Random things happen on a daily basis.  The House is there to meet the needs of the community which change daily. 

Fall 2007 trips:

Fridays 2:00pm-4:00pm

Saturdays 9:30am-12:30pm

There is always a lot to do! Come use your gifts in a fun, FLEXIBLE, laid back atmosphere!


The Grantham Community Garden


The Grantham Community Garden is a student-inspired, student-led effort to demonstrate and promote real-life concepts of sustainable agriculture—a necessary dimension of holistic Christian stewardship. We plan to use this garden initiative as a means to educate students, faculty, and the broader community about the benefits of eating organic food and tapping into local farm economies for food resources. Through participation in local and on-campus farmers markets, we hope to foster greater interaction between campus residents, regional farmers, and the surrounding public. Besides utilizing Messiah College’s land resources to produce fresh and healthy cafeteria food, a campus garden would allow the college to keep pace with environmentally minded schools such as Dickinson College, Wilson College, and Eastern University.


History and Overview

See the Garden's website for more info!

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Volunteer Opportunities

1. Fall garden harvesting and clean-up:

2. Special projects:

Fall 2008 Schedule:



The Joshua Farm


The Joshua Farm is an urban farm that grows and sells organic vegetables while providing educational, service and vocational opportunities to at-risk youth.  From our beginning, one principle has continually guided all of our efforts.  We may not be able to do much about the present circumstances facing our street youth, but "we can and they can" do something about their future to overcome any of those challenges.  Education, in some form, and particularly in the form of agricultural and business skills education provided by the Joshua Farm, provides the best chance of breaking the cycle of hopelessness in the lives of our at-risk and homeless youth.

History and Overview

The Joshua Farm is located less than a mile from the Joshua House and Resource Center on land that is owned by the Harrisburg School District, but has been vacant for approximately 20 years.  Joshua Group received permission from the school district to use the land for at least 3 years, and secured financial assistance for the start-up costs for the farm from the City of Harrisburg Department of Building and Housing Development and the Harrisburg City Council’s Councilmanic grant fund.  Location map is shown below. The purpose of the Joshua Farm Project is:

  1. To demonstrate the viability of organic farming in an urban setting,
  2. To offer education, service, and employment opportunities to the Harrisburg community, specifically to youth in the Allison Hill area, and
  3. To enhance the accessibility of low-income populations to locally grown and organic food.

The Joshua Farm generates revenue by selling its vegetables primarily through what is called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  Members of a CSA pay an annual fee in exchange for weekly “shares” of the harvest throughout the growing season (May-October).

Some highlights from the farm’s first few years:

  • Three teenage youth from J-Crew worked 10-15 hours a week during the summer months.  The youth interns participated in all aspects of the farming process—planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting, and learned about elements of business such as budgeting, marketing, and customer service.  Cooking classes, discussions, and field trips supplemented field and farm stand work.  They developed some of the skills needed to succeed in future employment situations. Funding for the youth salaries was generously provided by M&T Bank.
  • More than 75 children had on-farm learning experiences, including neighborhood children enrolled in the kids’ gardening club, field trips from Melrose and Harrisburg High Schools, and students from Milton Hershey School
  • 14 members of Dauphin County’s first Community Supported Agriculture program received 22 weeks of fresh vegetables ranging from arugula to zucchini.
  • We continued to cultivate relationships with our immediate neighbors and the broader Harrisburg Community through our weekly farmstand.

Volunteer Opportunities


1. Fall garden harvesting and clean-up: assist Kirsten as harvests the final produce an prepares the large gardens for winter

2. Special projects: work with the Joshua Farm to develop the young program by helping with construction of a shed or steps.

Fall 2007 trips:

Mondays 1:30-3:30pm

Thursdays 3:00-4:30pm

Saturdays 9:30am-12:30pm


Occasional Projects:

Project S.H.A.R.E


In response to God's call to love one another, we provide food, clothing, nutritional education and access to rpograms designed to improve physical, emotional, and spiritual well being for those in need, doing so in a compassionate environment that serves to srengtthen this community.


History & Overview

Project SHARE, formed in January 1985, is an interfaith, non-profit cooperative effort created to meet the needs of the hungry by providing supplementary food on a monthly basis. Project SHARE is a ministry of the Carlislse Area Religious Council and supported by over 50 local congregations and civic groups. Assistance is provided to the communities surrounding Carlisle, PA. As of october 2002, They moved to a new 10,000 sq. ft. handicapped accessible facility with a 10 year no cost lease from Dickinson College. This newly renovated facility offers room for a training kitchen, free clothing room, and walk-in cooler/freezer for perishable donation. Project SHARE distributed boxes on the third Thursday and folowing Saturday mornings of each month.

Each food box contains 25-30 nutritious food items, approximately one week's groceries for a family of four. Fifteen teams of volunteers deliver food to some 90 housebound households. All families are screen once a year to ensure financial eligiblity  and need. Other volunteers are available to talk to those who are having difficulties including budget problems, referring them to other agencies whenever appropriate. We now have cooking classes for kids of recipient families. A volunteer nurse is also available to those coming for food whom may have health or dietary questions, or concerns about their children. Eligibity is approximately 150% of the poverty level. Over 540 families (1,300 people) come each month for food, approximately 10% are seniors and 40% children.

Volunteer Opportunities

Currently, Messiah College students have no regular recurring volunteer opportunities. Occassionally, Outreach Teams sebd groups to help glean local farm fields and to help with food box distribution. Call or email Amanda if interested in S.H.A.R.E.-ing!






Sustainable Ag Events

On-Campus Sustainability


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