Meet Chloe! Chloe is a student at Belmont University working on degrees in Social Entrepreneurship and Global Leadership Studies. (Yes, we know she’s above our pay grade!) She volunteers on the farm every Monday and Friday and is a wonderful addition to the Cul2vate family. She kindly shared her beautiful Cul2vate story with us!
“Belmont University’s Ministries has a program called Service Year. Every year, six students are chosen to live together in fellowship, and we each intern at a faith-based non-profit of our choosing for 8 hours a week.
Cul2vate was a no-brainer for this opportunity. I’d first come to the farm as a volunteer in 2018. My introduction to social entrepreneurship class enabled us to serve in the community for class credit. My professor had Joey come in and talk to us about what the organization stood for and how it worked. I remember gawking at this man as he presented and answered our questions.
I’d realized my senior year of high school that I was particularly interested in correcting systemic injustices placed against marginalized communities. I joined social entrepreneurship because I knew one method of doing so was by means of financial empowerment, but Cul2vate did so much more than that and for so many people. That last piece is what hooked me. They employed recently incarcerated men, recovering addicts, the disabled, and those seeking to transition out of the welfare system— men who society had deemed incapable— and Cul2vate gave a second chance. This was the correction of social injustice in action. I had to be a part of it.
I spent many hours at Cul2vate that semester. I helped harvest and sort amongst the most situationally diverse group of people I’d ever met. They told me their stories and plans with radiating confidence. I’d never seen a group of men show so much vulnerability.
I knew what Cul2vate’s goals were before I arrived on the farm, but it wasn’t until I’d started volunteering that I realized how they did it. I’d overhear conversations with Cul2vators and Matt or Joey. It was never one of a boss and employee. It was unfailingly a conversation between friends. Since starting here over a year ago now, I’ve heard countless ways in which work is being done off the farm. Whether it was helping a Cul2vator move into a new place they’d found, plucking them out of a rough situation in the middle of the night, or simply meeting up to spend time together outside of work—these men were supported. Maybe that sounds simple, maybe it is, but it is the best if not only way to describe the Cul2vate community.
Something I never expected was to be supported in the same way Cul2vators around me were. From the beginning, I was called by name on the farm. People asked inquisitively about my story and plans and shared theirs in return. I never got the chance to feel like a volunteer–I was immediately accepted into this community as if I was as central to operations as them.
Following my experience as a volunteer, and upon my acceptance to the Service year program, I immediately reached out to Cul2vate asking to serve them in a greater capacity. They took me in with open arms, and I was instantly reminded of the support I’d seen Jenn, Joey, and Matt extending, because they were giving it right to me. That’s what has meant the most to me here at Cul2vate. We know there’s nothing we can do that the Lord can’t forgive. Cul2vate extends the same kind of grace and compassion to everyone God guides to the farm. Such love can be hard to process, and even accept, but one thing I am quite clear on is that I have yet to realize all God intends me to reap form this organization. While I have already received so much, this ministry continues to pour into me. It’s a blessing me and many others will perhaps never be able to fully quantify, as it will remain a constant in our story forever.”
We are so grateful that Chloe chose Cul2vate!