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Local

Plow Creek Fellowship to close

TISKILWA — Plow Creek Fellowship, an intentional Christian community established in 1971, a mile southeast of Tiskilwa, is announcing the close of its operations at the end of 2017. At its peak, the community had up to 100 participants in worship and common meals.

Plow Creek Fellowship has been widely known for its u-pick strawberries and its sales of garden-fresh produce at area farmer’s markets.

Plow Creek Fellowship members shared in a common treasury. It was closely affiliated with Plow Creek Mennonite Church, a member of the Mennonite Church USA. The fellowship was guided by a commitment to share life, needs and resources, according to the teachings of Jesus and the practice of the early church as told in Acts 2-4.

Peace-making and solidarity with refugees gained the community both respect and criticism. Over the years, many weary city-dwellers took retreats at Plow Creek, appreciating the natural beauty of its woodland trails, starry nights, campfires and good potluck food. Plow Creek Fellowship was the site of several summer camp meetings for Shalom Mission Communities of which Plow Creek Fellowship was a member. One camp meeting in 2008 hosted a music festival with inspiring teachings for more than 700 campers.

One of Plow Creek Fellowship’s most well-known members was writer and pastor, Rich Foss, who for a decade, wrote a weekly column in the Bureau Valley Chief until his death in January 2017. Rich’s passing, plus the deaths of David Gale and Jim Harnish in late 2016, left only a dozen members who concluded it was time to close up community operations and pass the property on to another non-profit ministry. This turned out to be Hungry World Farm, an offshoot of Willow Springs Mennonite Church.

Hungry World Farm is a new organization applying for not-for-profit status. It will
receive the Plow Creek Farm and transition it into a new ministry utilizing the facilities
and farmland.

The idea of Hungry World Farm began through local conversations and a
review of other farm-based ministries that teach about growing and consuming healthy
food. Dennis Zehr of Coneflower Farm, Tiskilwa, and Calvin Zehr, pastor of Willow
Springs Mennonite Church, Tiskilwa, created a proposal which Plow Creek Fellowship
accepted.

Hungry World Farm will focus on the following activities: Educating people about food
production, distribution, and consumption; addressing spiritual hunger in people’s’ lives;
training local and international interns in farming techniques; and providing retreats for
holistic growth and health. The transition will officially take place at the end of 2017.
If you would like to explore ways to partner in this new organization, or for more
information, contact Cal Zehr, 815-646-4819, hungryworldfarm@gmail.com.

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