As we age, most of us start to realize that time, energy, and resources are precious. Your soul starts to reckon with important questions, “do I stay on the cycle of just “doing” or do I stop, recharge and re-evaluate my life patterns?” ANUME Foundation was born out of this intense questioning of “how do I make a difference?”
Farming is an occupation where you can naturally connect with Mother Earth and more importantly, to your God. You touch the soil, hear the birds, smell the herbs, taste the vegetables and see the happiness it brings people. It’s a difficult occupation, but it mirrors everything a person goes through in life – hardship, celebrations, success, failure, prayer, and finally, realization that the most important thing about life is people.
Meet the ANUME Foundation. We are a growing, teaching and spiritual ground. Born in March of 2014, ANUME Foundation had a primary mission – feeding people, especially those experiencing hardship and needing community support. Developing a business model of 75% total output donated to area shelters and 25% sold wholesale, we thought that we could impact people’s lives and encourage people to reach their optimum health. The goal was to introduce people to healthier food choices, cook more at home and develop an overall conscientious concern for a healthier lifestyle.
The ANUME farm is located in La Grange, Texas in Fayette County. Known for its beauty, churches and agriculture, it was a perfect place to begin an adventure. Just weeks after purchase, Ronnie Vinson and I began cultivating and planting a garden in the existing soil on the 55-acre plot now known as the ANUME farm. We started small with two rows of vegetables producing 90 pounds of food in a short 65-day window. We took our first donation to the Houston Food Bank. That experience opened our eyes to the necessity of feeding others fresh, organic food. The staff at the food bank told us that they were not receiving organic food and it was a gift to receive ours. This ignited us to reach out to the A&M University, develop our Board of Directors and apply to the State for our 501(c) 3 non-profit status.
We thought it was important to seek advice from others on how to grow more food and relied on A&M University’s, Dr. Joseph Masabni, to educate us on plant nutrition and soil amendment. Soon after, we began attending organic conferences and one in particular, Dr. Elaine Ingham’s Study of the Soil Web. This conference significantly changed the course of ANUME. We began to understand how nutrients get inside plants. Understanding how nutrients move through plants with electrical charges and microbes while learning what and when to feed plants grossly expanded our curiosity and desire to grow more food. At this particular conference we met with some of the most highly regarded organic educators and practitioners. Bob Randall, John Ferguson and Mike Serrant became our friends and people who believed in our mission.
As we grew more and more food, we decided it was time to rid of our garden hose and move to a more sophisticated method of irrigation. In early 2015, we purchased a 12-acre irrigation pivot. It was the sure sign for all of us, including the community, that we were committed to our cause. Our growing fields resembled our business model where the land was divided into four segments and three of them would be growing for the food banks. We began more experimentation. We laid down hay in between the rows, wrapped plants with foil to defend against bugs, circled each plant with organic fertilizers and learned about cover cropping for the first time. We were producing food, however, we experienced many problems, namely, the weather. In 2015, we experienced more than usual rainfall that delayed our planting. That year, we also experienced more than usual weeds, pests and discolored vegetation. What seemed to be a curse soon became a blessing. Our problems made us want to meet other farmers and we started visiting farms in Austin, Houston and Fayette County. We met some wonderful farmers that offered us advice that further changed our direction and understanding of growing vegetables and herbs. We saw how they had volunteers, interns and garden club members work at their farms. At the time, we contracted one day a week with a landscaping company and had three very committed volunteers. Our Board members were also committed to helping us. Angela Schwarzbach, Vincent Velarde and John Ferguson gave so much time and talent to our operations. This encouraged us to reach out to even more people. We networked closely with universities and in the summer of 2016 had our first group of students work with us. Students from A&M, University ofSt. Thomas (Houston) and LSU spent the summer working and living at the farm. The internship program was a tremendous success. We taught each of them how to drive the tractor, plant, harvest, maintain farm equipment and learn daily operations. Relationships formed, people learned and the farm became a peaceful place of harmony and growth.
ANUME was making great strides in its understanding of growing plants, working with community and learning how to manage a non-profit organization. However, we still lacked in our funding and expenses. We were driving to Houston & Austin back and forth making deliveries to area restaurants and their food banks. Decisions had to be made. We were spending large amounts of time and fuel with this logistic schedule. In the winter of 2016, it became clear that ANUME should be serving its neighboring food banks, shelters and crisis centers. We recognized the need for organic food in Fayette and Travis counties and began directly serving four food banks and shelters: AMEN Food Pantry, Schulenburg Food Pantry, Bastrop Family Crisis Center and Central Texas Food Bank. In early 2017, we added the Celebration House Food Pantry in Flatonia, Texas. At the close of 2019, we have fed the food banks more than 75,000 pounds of food.
We know today it takes a lot of help, support and funding to keep us going. We are grateful to all those who have believed in our mission and support us monetarily, physically and with their products to flourish our farm. If you would like to visit us or learn more about our endeavors, please contact us for a tour and discussion. It would be worthy of your time, energy and resources. Together, we can change lives through organic nutrition.
We work to produce outstanding levels of nutrients in our soil and food
We aspire to preserve and protect the natural balance of our environment.
We honor and respect diversity in all people.
We are sensitive to others needs and life's hardships.
We believe hard work creates balance of mind, body, and spirit.
Joining together realizes goals more efficiently and effectively.
We believe restoring health to soil brings vitality and health to people. ANUME’s mission is to help others make the connection between the integrity of land with the integrity of their bodies. By growing nutrient-rich, organic food, we feed, educate, and inspire people into a new level of well-being.
Our 2017 goal is to donate 75% of our 20,000 pound production to local food pantries, while educating our community about the benefits of healthy eating.
Changing Lives Through Organic Nutrition
It is our mission to share the healing benefits of organic produce with our community. We believe that the food you eat has the power to transform and heal your physical and mental health. More than that, we realize food has the power to bring families and communities together. With this in mind, we hope to create a space in which people can gather to learn more about health, nutrition, and organics.
Why Care About Where and How Your Food is Produced?
More nutritious food! Locally produced food will be harvested closer to ripening because it does not have to travel long distances. Thus, local produce will probably be more nutritious.
Avoid harsh chemicals! By choosing organically produced food, you are limiting you and your family’s exposure to pesticides and other harsh chemicals.
Quality! Visiting and buying from local farms will also assure you of the quality, safety, and freshness of your food.
Reduce your carbon footprint! Buying organic produce means that you are supporting agricultural practices that nurture the soil, reduce carbon emissions, conserve water and energy, and protect the ecology of the land.
Support Your Community:
Visit your farmer! Developing a relationship is key to understanding farming techniques and practices. Take time to volunteer and educate yourself on growing food...it will strengthen your relationship with food and nature!
Encourage local business! Supporting your farmers will help boost your local economy!