In 2004, First Evangelical Free Church ('First Free') purchased 16 acres on the southwest corner of County Road C and Hazelwood Street, one block south of the current facility, for future facility expansion. The property had been owned and farmed by Mr Phil Oswald for over 40 years. First Free named the property the Harvest Campus.
In consideration of future growth, First Free had explored purchasing property in other locations. However, there was a strong desire to remain in the Maplewood neighborhood in which the church had moved in 1991 with the purchase of the Hazelwood School. The opportunity to purchase property so close to the current location was seen as an answer from God to our prayers! We love our Maplewood location.
In 2009, First Free offered a few acres to the community for gardens. In 2010, Harvest Gardens was more formally organized with 350 plots and 150 gardeners. The gardens grew again in 2011 to 960 plots and 475 gardeners, in 2012 with 1240 plots and 625 gardeners, and since 2013 with 1160 plots and over 1000 gardeners. We have been richly blessed by the relationships formed with both neighbors and gardeners!
Sometime in the future, First Free plans to expand the church facility on the Harvest Campus. In the meantime, we're enjoying sharing the land God has given with the community.