The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


By grace alone

Illinois congregation operates farm to stop local hunger

After years of growing crops, selling them and donating the profits to Foods Resource Bank, a nonprofit dedicated to alleviating global hunger, St. Matthew Lutheran Churchin Urbana, Ill., shifted its attention locally.

For nearly a decade, St. Matthew used herbicides and pesticides to grow corn and soybeans on its 4-acre conventional farm. Now as a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, in partnership with Faith in Place, a nonprofit that gives religious people tools to work the earth, it's on the way to becoming fully organic and grows up to 40 types of vegetables. 

The name of the farm is Sola Gratia (Latin for "by grace alone"). Robert Rasmus, a pastor of St. Matthew, said they chose the name because it's a reminder of the congregation's goal of positive change. "It's got a reformation ring to it and it keeps us mindful that we are stewards of the gift," he said.

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