This month, nearly 200 people gathered at Fill Ministries’ Aquaponics Farm in northeast Forsyth to celebrate the opening of their first greenhouse at the inaugural Feeding Hearts Farm to Table Gala.
At the event held on May 20, attendees were given an insider’s tour of the greenhouse, fed a meal of fresh harvest salad and berries and lemon dill tilapia, and together raised more than $180,000 to help fund the next greenhouse to be installed on the property.
“Within this wonderful community there are champions, there are heroes and there are trailblazers – individuals who care enough to be the change they want to see in the world,” Fill Ministries Executive Director Suellen Daniels stated in the release. “They show up, they deliver, they never disappoint and the families we serve know it.”
Fill Ministries cut the ribbon on their first greenhouse at a ceremony in late April, with the hopes that the farm could grow to as many as eight greenhouses. They say that each 156-feet by 35-feet greenhouse can potentially produce up to 70,000 plants and 1,200 full-size fish per year and cost $250,000 to build.
With the second future greenhouse, the release states that they will be able to, “supply a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as job skills training, for Meals by Grace client families and the larger community.”
At the ribbon cutting in April, Daniels said that she hoped the farm would become a place that not only produces food for those in need and for sale to farmers markets or restaurants, but also as a place that allows families to come and learn a skill that they can survive off of.
“We want to be a model for what we are teaching our families,” Daniels said, “so those families can come here and learn job skills they will be able to take anywhere in the world and get living wage jobs so they can get better for their family; that’s our goal.”
The Feeding Hearts Farm to Table Gala was sponsored by 26 local businesses and individuals, including S&S Technical, Grasslands Big Give, Belay Solutions, Choate Construction, Sit Means Sit Dog Training, Northside Hospital and Farmwave.
“Tonight, these wonderful trailblazing donors said ‘yes’ through their actions: ‘Yes’ to innovation and ‘yes’ to modeling self-sustainability,” Daniels said in the release.
More information about Fill Ministries can be found at mealsbygrace.org.