Jubilee Farms is located south of Clinton, IL on five acres on a rolling hillside . Cyndy Ash is the owner and operator. The farm was officially born in 2014, the result of over a decade of passionate work, fueled by a love of the land and fresh produce. In 2014, Jubilee Farms joined a local co-op, Legacy of the Land. It began selling fruit and produce to local restaurants, grocery stores, dormitories, and a non-profit. This venture spurred her to file for a sole proprietorship, and approach the farm with serious consideration for its future. Sales have grown exponentially year over year. The farm has also diversified, and now is the home to alpacas, sheep, and laying hens. In 2015, she began to explore the possible link between her duel callings, farming and ministry.
As a result, she met with several folks from Sola Gratia in Urbana, Illinois, a non-profit CSA which was created as a mission project by St. Matthew Lutheran Church. This meeting resulted in a meeting with Cindy Shepherd, from Faith in Place. In 2016, Faith in Place and Jubilee Farms partnered and are excited about working together to promote local sustainable farming to communities of faith.
To provide the community, both those with financial means and those without, with locally grown produce, farmed sustainably without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers; to serve as a gathering place for the wider church community for worship, mission, education, and community building.
Ash believes, as followers of Jesus Christ, that we are called to be good stewards of the earth and its gifts. She also believes that we are called to care for our bodies, a big part of caring for our physical selves is choosing food that provides us with sustenance, nourishment, and energy for the journey.
Produce farmers play a pivotal role in providing local communities access to clean food. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough local produce farmers to even begin to meet the demand, which is growing. At the same time, mainline Protestant churches continue to see their numbers dwindle. Several denominations are beginning to explore alternate worship communities, i.e. PCUSA’s 1001 Worshiping Communities. Ash approached the Conference on Ministry in the Eastern Association of the United Church of Christ. They were eager too, to bring to fruition a farm church. Permission was given to plant a new church start in the United Church of Christ at Jubilee Farms. Worship will begin at the farm in April.
Jubilee Farms will serve as a juncture, providing an alternative worship space, and a clear mission which promotes the local food movement while serving the food insecure in neighboring communities. Worship at the farm, for some, will be their sole source of worship. For others, it will be an additional place to worship. The farm will work in conjunction with existing congregations towards its mission. As such, it will serve as a destination for short-term mission trips.