Eighth Day Farm started in 2010 as a small CSA on some leased land outside the City of Holland, in Southwest Michigan. The founders, Jeff and Melissa Roessing, live downtown and were associated with their neighborhood non-profit 3sixty. With the vision to bring the community into even closer contact with their food and with farming, they moved the operation in town, transitioning to an urban farm and advancing educational and charitable components to their work. This move was made possible through a generous partnership with Zion Lutheran Church, who provided their former preschool property at 709 Pine Avenue as a farm site. After a year under 3sixty, Eighth Day Farm became its own 501c3 and continued its varied and stacked work in the community around food, including: operating a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, donating produce to other non-profits to address local hunger, donating flowers to care facilities, redirecting local food waste into the creation of compost, employing under-employed neighbors, hosting workshops, farm tours, field trips, college interns, developing the Backyard to Table project in 2014, and developing the Urban Youth Growers program and the New Fast Food in 2016.
In addition to the 709 Pine Avenue location, Eighth Day Farm partnered with the Holland Town Center to reclaim 2 acres of parking lot for a small farm. In 2016 Eighth Day Farm restructured. The CSA began operating solely out of the Holland Town Center location while the Growth Center became the hub of all other program work.
Why was Eighth Day started?
Initially, the founders entered agriculture because they saw it as a kind of common denominator with the power to bring change in the areas of environmental/ecological care, the national health care crisis, community/family isolation or separation, and social justice (particularly as it relates to labor ethics, rights and access to nutritious food).
The farm moved into the city and transitioned into a charitable organization in response to the variety of visions and hopes expressed by neighbors at the prospect of having the farm in town. We have attempted to maintain a similar posture of openness and response to community needs ever since.
Why the name “Eighth Day Farm”?
Early Christians celebrated the “Eighth Day,” the day after the Hebrew Sabbath, for on this day the God-human named Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus marks a new dimension of rest and peace for God’s people. We at Eighth Day Farm want to go about our work from that place of rest and peace. We believe work performed in gratitude and strengthened by rhythms of rest is rewarding for all involved. Concurrently, we hold that good stewardship of the land requires periods of rest and renewal.
Jesus’ resurrection marks the beginning of a new era wherein the powers of darkness and death are unraveling in the presence of God’s salvation. The term “Eighth Day” represents the coming of a new day, a distinct period in history that is the beginning of the end of all that is broken and wrong in the world. Or, to state it positively, the “Eighth Day” ushers in a time where we can experience and taste in fresh ways the hope and promise of communion with God and love for neighbor in a world God created beautiful.
Eighth Day Farm operates out of a fervent belief that the Creator cares for creation and the creatures made in God’s triune image. We believe this care culminated in the saving work of Jesus Christ’s death on a cross and resurrection—where justice confronted evil, and grace reached out to embrace enemies, and the way of peace and love prevailed.
The resurrection of Jesus is the good news that forms and informs all our present choices. While we await the final resurrection with the new heavens and the new earth, we serve our living God with the gifts, talents, and choices given to us. We care for the soil, forests, streams, and lakes as we are intimately connected to them by God’s design. Our “spiritual” mission is also our physical mission. We live in the Eighth Day.