Brian Gadbois is a permanent deacon and his wife Nissa has just, as in today, given birth to their ninth child. A couple of years ago a dream that they had nurtured for many years came true when they purchased a foreclosed and abandoned farm property.
As a condition of the purchase they were required to sign a covenant that the farm would be used for commercial agriculture culture within three years. So in addition to working on the restoration of the farm home to make it suitable for their family, they have also been working on expanding the livestock and produce of the farm. They currently have a flock of 10 dairy goats and five Shetland sheep and the requisite guard dog.
Brian and Nissa use the farm as a center of ministry to families, focused on sharing Catholic principles of family life both with their fellow Catholics and people of all faiths. But as you can imagine, having to maintain one residence while renovating the other and expanding the farm while their own family expands, stretches the family’s financial resources quite thin.
These are not people who let any grass grow under their feet. They produce and sell a variety of farm products (meats, vegetables, honey, syrup, birch beer, eggs, sourdough breads, soaps and candles, Christmas trees and greenery) offer CSA shares, and lease grazing land. Still they are always on the lookout for creative ways to finance the expansion of their farm, prompting this on Facebook from Nissa on the weekend: “We have been offered a pair of pregnant (Shetland) ewes, a ram, and a Pyr by the shepherdess we got our Shetlands from. She needs to rehome them following a medical emergency with her DH, and she specially wants them to come to us. Around $1000. It’s not in the budget. Can’t take any more debt. We’re tapped. We’ve been wanting, no needing a Pyr [Great Pyrenees Livestock Guard dog]. And we need to expand our flock. Praying for a little miracle.”
Upon reading this, one of Nissa’s Facebook friends thought, “I sure wish I had $1000 to give them because I would love to see them succeed at this farming enterprise. But I do have $20 and if I could use Facebook to get the attention of 50 other people who could give them $20, problem solved!”
Hence was born the Facebook page Help a Catholic Farming Family. The idea behind the page is to link Catholics together across the country and help Catholic farming families crowd-source funding for small capital projects, like this one of the Gadbois.
We need thousands of people to like this page and be part of this effort. That way, very small contributions can create big effects.
Pope Benedict XVI said, “The rural family must regain its place at the heart of the Social order.” If the rural family is to regain its place at the heart of the Social order, then we need to hold Catholic farming families in our hearts.
Please go to this Facebook page: Help a Catholic Farming Family, like it, share it widely, and be part of a little miracle.