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Story written by Elizabeth Joseph | Gardening Educator | Overlook Farm
Photos by Elizabeth Joseph, Donna Kilpatrick and Peter Weiskel | Overlook Farm
Sixty guests were invited to a Farm Luncheon at Overlook Farm in Rutland, MA, one of Heifer International’s Learning Centers, on Saturday, August 11, to raise funds for the Armenia Smallholder Farmer Signature Project. Overlook Farm and Heifer International hope this is one of many creative and collaborative efforts as part of our Education Model to raise awareness, action and monetary support for Heifer’s work in the field.
Before lunch, Liz Joseph, Overlook’s Garden Educator, and Donna Kilpatrick, Overlook’s Livestock Coordinator, led tours through one acre of organic gardens as well as livestock pastures and barns. Guests learned about sustainable agriculture growing practices such as remineralized soils and grass-based farming, both practiced on the farm, and saw the plants and animals that model the local, sustainable, and secure food systems taught to visitors at Heifer’s Learning Centers. The tours were very well-received, thanks to the passion and knowledge imparted by Joseph and Kilpatrick.
Guests thoroughly enjoyed the delicious, high-quality meal that was cooked and served by Overlook Farm residential volunteers and employees with Liz Ellis, Culinary Coordinator, overseeing the entire event. The gourmet meal featured vegetables, meat, honey, berries, herbs, and maple syrup that was all raised, grown, and harvested on the farm.
During dessert, Heifer International’s Associate Director of Philanthropy, Paul Yeghiayan, gave a presentation about Heifer Armenia and the Smallholder Farmer Project, known also as CARMAC, hoping to inspire donations in support of this worthy cause. Donations are expected to come in the mail over the next few weeks.
Cindy Jones-Nyland, Pietro Turilli, and Michelle Dusek-Izaguirre from Heifer International headquarters in Little Rock, as well as Dan West Fellow Award recipient Roselee Sinn, attended the event. They offered more meaningful impact for major donors and community members at the table who were able to hear firsthand about Heifer’s work and evolution. Heifer has been receiving many e-mails with feedback saying that “everything was perfection” and “that was such a delicious and delightful lunch…I can’t remember when I’ve ever had such a good meal.”
The Farm Luncheon followed the visit of Shushan Grigoryan, an Armenian youth visiting the United States as part of an international youth leadership retreat. Shushan gave a presentation in July to Heifer International's assistant volunteer coordinators and local community members at Overlook Farm about the Yes! Clubs in Armenia and attended the nearby Watertown Armenian Festival with the Community Engagement Team. Her visit provided both insight and inspiration for all who heard her speak, and was an excellent lead-up to the Farm Luncheon in support of the Armenia Signature Project.