Light of the World

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

This verse refers to Jesus entering the world as God incarnate, or according to some Bible translations, God made flesh. Think about what it feels like to be enveloped in complete darkness so that even if you open your eyes wide, wide, all you see is black. Pitch dark. This is hard to come by in our techno age of glowing flat screens, laptops, tablets and smart phones but imagine for a minute that it is indeed pitch dark. Then, imagine lighting a match and that tiny flame bursting into the big darkness. The darkness cannot overcome the light; the light prevails.

I have the privilege of living across the street from First Fruits Farm. My family moved to Freeland Road three and a half years ago and I’ll share more details about this “coincidence” in another post. One December night not long after we moved to our farm, my small group studied this scripture verse from the first chapter of John and we discussed how light prevailing over darkness is a metaphor for the way in which Christ overcomes evil. I pondered this truth as I drove the few miles home. The nights are pretty dark out here in the country and as I drove up the road there was the cross on the First Fruits barn, shining boldly into the cold night. The light shines in the darkness…

The light of Christ began to shine through what is now First Fruits Farm over 20 years ago when God spoke into the hearts of Rick and Carol Bernstein. Out of their desire to serve the Lord grew a vision for reaching people who are hungry not only for healthy food but for the Gospel.

Rick and Carol and their three young children lived in northern Baltimore County in a nice house on a couple of acres. They had a big garden and the Bernstein kids sold veggies from a little roadside stand. Well, one day they were completely overrun with produce – my guess it was either the zucchini multiplied overnight or every singletomato ripened within moments of each other as they do in my garden – so on his way to work in downtown Baltimore, Rick stopped by Our Daily Bread, Catholic Charities’ hot meal program. He carried in a few bags of produce and asked the kitchen staff if they could use some vegetables. As they rarely receive fresh produce, the staff was thrilled and Rick walked away with an idea germinating in his heart. That was 1991.

In 1998, the Bernsteins moved down the road a piece to a farm they named First Fruits Farm from Proverbs 3:9: Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops. Hereford United Methodist Church provided initial support until FFF could become a freestanding nonprofit. Eventually, they acquired more acreage and equipment and today volunteers of all ages and backgrounds work in the fields together to grow food for many food banks, missions, shelters and soup kitchens. All this from a few bags of produce and a couple of open hearts.

Welcome to firstfruitsfarmblog! Our aim is to communicate what’s happening out here at the “Triple F,” from what’s growing in the fields to who is receiving the bounty and everything in between. As we move into the growing season, look for updates, photos, planting and harvesting news, farming ideas, as well as how you can become involved with First Fruits Farm.

Diann Churchill


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