A letter from a Founder
The Practice of Grounding has been an indispensable aspect within the culture of FrontLine Farming. We practice grounding and reflection in our internal meetings, in meetings, classes and workshops that we facilitate. As time has passed, I have seen this practice become more widespread both within our network and throughout the wider world. Grounding practices are almost universal in their intention though diverse in their expression. One may learn through the act of prayer and prostration; another may learn it through exploration of the natural world yet another through ritual and ecstatic dance. Grounding practices bring us home, to ourselves and enable us to feel our connection to one another.
As land and soil stewards we experience the blessing of working within natural cycles that allow for moments of reflection. Being grounded in the land has always given us something to stand upon as we set about envisioning the next season and beyond. In our reflections we came back to the fact that how we relate to and work the land, how we invest into making it more productive, the agreements we need to make as land stewards with others who are coming into this work to ensure the land itself is treated with the respect that it deserves are some of the questions we reflected on. We are coming back to and recommitting to the land as the foundation of what makes us a successful organization.
With this solid understanding of what is grounding for us FrontLine Farming will continue to promote our values and fulfill our mission to lead in the creation of an equitable, just food system on the front range of Colorado.
Abundance is one product of being grounded. Over the past year we have experienced that abundance in small and large ways. Through strategic visioning and implementation, we continue to refine the ways that we harness that abundance and direct it to our staff partners and programs. Fiscally our staff has done incredible work finding a diverse set of resources enabling us to bring sustainability to our staffing, ensuring we can fully support and fully staff our current programs. We understand that non-profit organizations that grow without supporting the staff that does the work on foundational programs will not have a long life.
Climate Change and environmental changes continue to make the work of farming tremendously challenging! This year we experienced cold wet spring weather, intense summer heat and air pollution from wildfires sometimes more than one thousand miles away just to name a few. Despite these challenges we have seen our farms be resilient and we know that the years of hard work building our soil, planting trees, and flowering perennial herbs and building smart irrigation and water harvesting systems is key. We grew 120 different varieties of crops in 2022 with a significant investment in developing our knowledge and the diversity of our foodways beds at Sister Gardens. Our production abundance and our central role as a farming and justice organization allowed us to distribute our produce to local partner organizations, support families through our CSA with a significant portion of our CSA customers using their SNAP and WIC benefits to access our produce. Shout out to our SNAP Application Services team for helping so many families through the application process and access to the services they are eligible for. Another shout out to our farmers, apprentices and volunteers to whom this success can be attributed! Our growing apothecary is the product of this abundance as well and is just one way we are preserving the harvest of the season. Our farming successes are integral to and are the basis our educational programs from bees to composting.
We at FrontLine Farming are honored and humbled in this work. We experience the grace of abundance through our work. We allow grace for one another in our personal growth cycles and transitions. We hope that you find, grounding abundance and grace in 2023. Please read the full annual report for specifics on successes I have only hinted at here. Sign up for our monthly newsletter, volunteer or take a class!
We appreciate your support.
Dr. Damien Thompson, Co-Founder