Blogpost: God’s Little Acre Farm

Blogpost: God’s Little Acre Farm




We often hear about World Hunger and extreme poverty but seldom do we, here in North America, expect to find it in our own backyard.

A little while back, I stood and watched from a third floor window, as a man dove into a dumpster and retrieved what looked like a slice of discarded pizza. He took a couple of bites. Chewed on it for a bit. Examined what was left in his hand. Seemed to consider another bite…of that disgusting bit of food that had been cast out by another…and then shaking his head, glanced over at a seagull hovering nearby and tossed the waste in the gull’s direction.

As the Gull screeched in ecstasy and picked away at the morsel, the man shuffled on down the alley, dragging a shopping cart that was overflowing with what may have been all his worldly belongings.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

It breaks my heart to know that there are people in this Land, this Country and even in my Community who cannot afford to buy food. They are the poverty-stricken. Sometimes they are homeless, living on our streets and despite whatever safety measures our societies put in place, these people are still going hungry.

I used to suspect the conditions of our poverty-stricken were of their own doing, they made poor choices, or were lazy. They’re different and could be dangerous. Their situation is depressing. I would look away and sometimes cross the street to avoid them. I realize now that my attitude toward the poor and homeless was mostly fear based.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

Some time ago I decided to stop passing judgement, to stop wondering what circumstances could bring someone in our society to pull discarded food from the trash.

I accept that there are (and likely will always be) people in our society who lack the ability to care for themselves. Lately, instead of turning away in horror and disgust, I’ve started to turn towards them to ask…how can I help?

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

I cannot fix what is wrong. I cannot make it right. But I can join with others who are like minded…people who’s hearts break for those neighbours of ours who are hungry. Instead of turning away, I choose to join with people who are willing to offer up a bit of their time to help those who are struggling. I believe we need to accept these vulnerable members of our community, as neighbours in distress who are in desperate need of an act of kindness.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

Shortly after I saw the man pulling food from the trash, I was serving at one of my Church’s Community Meals and that’s when I first heard about Mr Jas Singh of God’s Little Acre Farm in Surrey BC. Jas is a man who was open-minded and brave enough to follow a vision. He is someone who with a happy heart, is willing to live barely above the poverty line himself so that others may have ‘fresh food’ in their bellies.

The key words here that sing in my heart, are ‘fresh food’. As in real foods, whole foods, natural foods. Fresh foods that come straight from the earth. Foods that have nutritional value. Foods that are undeniably healthy.

It has always bothered me that our Food Banks are mostly filled with foods that lack nutritional value. It’s a known fact that the cheapest and easiest food to come by, are ones that are highly processed, packaged, and unhealthy. With the ever-growing numbers of people who rely on local Food Banks and Soup Kitchens, these service organizations are forced to choose food by price over nutritional value. There definitely is a lack of nutritious ‘fresh food’ in the diets of low-income families.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

For me, as a Food Blogger, the point of the Whole Foods Revolution is not only about eating better myself but it’s about encouraging everyone to eat better, fresher, more nutritious unprocessed foods. Sadly, those with the greatest need for fresh nutritious food, are the ones who can least afford it.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

When it comes to offering impoverished people less nutritious, cheap food, are we supposed to say oh well, food is food and beggars can’t be choosers? That’s what I was afraid of…until I heard about Jas Singh and God’s Little Acre Farm.

Jas Singh God's Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

It started early in 2011 after Jas approached a local Food Bank with a promise of ‘fresh food’. He had secured the use of a thirty acre hay-field, two tractors (one without a clutch) and some minimal farm equipment. His plan was to work the fields and then bring the harvest to the Food Bank to distribute to the poor.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BCGods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

That first year, Jas worked the fields alone, doing most everything by hand. He planted a three acre section (which was all he could afford to grow). During the day, he worked at other local farms to support himself and after work, he spent his time on the newly founded God’s Little Acre Farm.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BCGods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

The 2011 season yielded 62,000 lbs of potatoes, all of which got donated to the Surrey Food Bank.

The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.
~Proverbs 22:9

In the off-season, before year two, Jas drove a semi-truck to support his family and save some money for the farm. He fell short of his funding goal in 2012 but that didn’t stop him. He continued to work as a trucker on the weekends and farmed GLA Surrey the other 5 days of the week.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

After hearing the story, a few volunteers showed up and the farm started to get a bit of media attention.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

In the 2012 season, a ten-acre section of the farm got planted with a mix of vegetables. The farm yielded about 70,000 lbs of vegetables which got donated to various local food banks and community soup kitchens.

In 2013, the farm expanded from thirty acres to thirty-four acres. Every single acre got sowed, mostly by hand or with garden seeders. As the farm grew, things started to fall behind. A plea to the public went out in a media release and 580 people showed up in one day to get the weeding caught up on the farm.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BCGods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

Jas says that day when so many people from all walks of life, of faith and non-faith backgrounds, showed up, was his happiest day on the farm. The Sikh temple fed the volunteers and a Muslim group came out later in the evening to help. After that day, God’s Little Acre Farm has had a steady stream of volunteers who show up weekly.

In the 2013 season, the farm yielded about 200,000 lbs of vegetables which got donated to needy people, soup kitchens, food banks as well as some schools for lunch programs.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

Here we are in 2014, the fourth season for God’s Little Acre Farm. The goal this year is to produce about 500,000 lbs of vegetables for charities. At the beginning of this year, GLA Surrey had 5 farms and a total of 70 acres. Another 20 acres has since been added. At this time, God’s Little Acre Farm encompasses a total of 90 acres.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

Jas no longer drives truck. He manages to sustain himself by growing and selling crops on the side. He has pledged to always keep God’s Little Acre at zero administration costs and refuses to take a salary from the charity side of the farm.

I have no problem living in the same poverty spectrum as the people we serve
~Jas Singh

One of Mr Jas Singh’s goals, is to have Gods Little Acre Farm produce enough fresh vegetables to supply every needy person, soup kitchen, food bank and school lunch program within a 75 km (45 mile) radius. That’s everyone living in poverty from Vancouver to Chilliwack.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

And he doesn’t plan to stop there. Earlier this year Jas travelled 1880 km (1168 miles) to Yorkton Saskatchewan where he helped to start a God’s Little Acre farm in that community. His goal is to have GLA go National.

Gods Little Acre Farm Surrey BC

Mr Jas Singh…a man with vision along with a team of local volunteers who, seed, weed and harvest crops of fresh vegetables to give to needy people, local food banks, community soup kitchens and school lunch programs. That my friends is God’s Little Acre.

See you at the farm! ~Jas Singh

Find God’s Little Acre Farm Online and on Facebook

 

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This post is linked to the following events:

Fat Tuesday hosted by Jill at Real Food Forager

Hearth and Soul Hop hosted by April at The 21st Century Housewife

Gluten Free & DIY Tuesdays hosted by Megan at Allergy Free Alaska and Jeanine at The Baking Beauties

Tuesdays With a Twist hosted by Debra at Ms Moozy’s Open House

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday hosted by Danielle at Poor And Gluten Free

Pennywise Platter Thursday hosted by Kimmi at The Nourishing Gourmet

Gluten Free Fridays hosted by Cindy at Vegetarian Mamma

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using the Pin It button at the top of the page, or any of the Social Media buttons below.

Thanks,
Laureen



 

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Laureen Fox is an enthusiastic amateur cook and Canadian Food Blogger from Vancouver BC. She loves spending her days creating good wholesome food in the Fox Kitchen. Evenings will find her blogging about the best that living without gluten has to offer.

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9 comments

  1. Jeanine says:

    That is AWESOME!! Wow – so glad that you wrote about them, Laureen! What a fabulous program, and to see how it’s grown over the last few years is amazing!

  2. What an amazing man Jas is, Laureen. How incredible to start with so little and create such abundance and practical help for those in need. What a great project to be involved in. I’m so glad you shared God’s Little Acre with us at the Hearth and Soul hop. I’ve pinned your post to my Sustainable Living board on Pinterest :-)

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this article, Laureen!! I actually had the pleasure (and it was a total fluke) of meeting Jas a few years ago, the year after he started his farm. I sometimes help out in the summer at a greenhouse in Surrey run by old friends, and one day Jas came in just before closing in desperate need of a whole lot of soil – some kind of problem with his normal supplier. The greenhouse doesn’t normally sell wholesale through their retail space, but he explained to me what he was doing and how they had supplied a ton of food to the food bank on all volunteer work.

    At the time he was working as a long distance trucker and used his own money to support the farm. I was so touched by the great kindness that he exuded and what he was trying to do. I’ve often wondered what became of him!! I’m so thrilled to hear he’s been able to devote himself to this and start to expand :)

    • Laureen Fox says:

      That’s a great story Danielle! Although I bet Jas would say your meeting was not a total fluke. He has a strong faith. When I first met him, he said that along the way he has met the people he was meant to meet and that’s what has kept things at the charity farm moving along.

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