Step 1: Tax Exemption
The very first step is to achieve our tax exempt status including our letters of incorporation is completed. We received a generous donation to cover the $1700 in legal costs of filing for our 501c3.
We have our Employee ID Number, have been accepted as a Charitable Organization by the state of Illinois, we are now waiting for the IRS to approve us as a registered 501c3 organization.
IL Employee ID Number
IL Charitable Organization Number
IL Sales Tax Exemption
US Postal Reduction
Step 2: Education
Pastor Mitchel has graduated from Christian Leaders College with his Bachelors of Divinity Degree. Click here to see the progress he is making.
Step 3: Property, Farm Stand, Living Quarters
The first step is to acquire a suitable property, and build a sustainable revenue. We want to establish our first greenhouse, our first chicken run, and the farm stand.
We have the opportunity to buy my parents homestead in rural St.Anne Illinois which keeps us close to the community we are trying to help. Although the property is a little smaller than we were hoping for, we are able to scale back the operation to get started and hopefully find another piece of land to expand our farm on.
Our dream farm stand was going to be a 50 x 40 steel building with multiple coolers and tables for produce as well as be an outlet for other farm stand sales opportunities. The building was also to be our starter residence on the second floor until we get to the main residence / classroom / dining room.
Since we ended up getting a larger home with a smaller property, we have changed the idea of the farm stand to be in the control room of the greenhouse and maybe to one-half of the two-car garage at some point.
The first greenhouse would be similar to the Micro-Farm 3 from Nelson and Pade which features a large hoop house with their zero discharge aquaponics system, deep water culture beds, a NFT seed starting system, and a media bed, along with all the components for the fish system. This greenhouse will be one of multiple systems in the final design.
Are we planning on buying Nelson and Pade's system? Not until the second money tree starts blooming. We have studied many aquaponics systems and we would like to film the building process as part of a class we will teach on Aquaponics start-ups.
Step 3: Chickens & Pigs
The third step is to integrate pastured chickens for egg and broiler sales at the farm stand. We have been keeping 5 chickens (city limit) and I can't imagine my wife ever being happy without her daily "talk with the girls".
We also wanted to raise pastured pigs to sell as hanging meat to the butcher or individual sales, or as live sales to our local meatpacking plant. Unfortunately, since our new property is too small for this, we will be looking for an additional property at some point to raise pastured pork, possibly more chickens, and possibly a larger greenhouse.
Step 4: Main Residence, Dining Room, Class Room
The fourth step is to build our main residence which will have a large great room to facilitate our classroom and dining room for the residents.
We are blessed that our new house has a large great room that can be configured to be a classroom and dining room.
The fifth step is to build a dedicated dorm building for our residents with a fully functional shower room, lavatory, lockers, bunks, and desks. Each person will have their own bunk, closet, locker and desk. Each bunk mates will be assigned one toilet, sink, and shower to keep clean, and be in a rotation for mopping the bunk house, lavatory and shower room.
Each person will get 5 sets of work clothes, 1 dress casual outfit, and 2 sets of sweats, and two pairs of athletic shorts along with undergarments and personal hygiene kits. This will be afforded by the $500 registration fee and or donations.
Step 5: Dedicated Dorm
Step 6: Ministry Expansion
We don't even know in what ways our ministries could be expanded, but one idea, that was given to us by Dave Meyers from ZimZam global, was to host ministry partners from Africa and teach them how to build and manage Aquaponics farms. I also recently read that chicken farming is becoming a surprisingly new trend in Africa. I was flabbergasted that raising chickens wasn't already a thing, but rather that Africans import tons of chicken every year.
Step 8: Passing the Batton
After seeing what happens when good leaders stay for too long before deciding to retire, I have built-in this step on purpose. Once the ministry is built to a sustainable level, it will be time to look for a new director for the Discipleship Center and for me to step down from the position as director and do something fun at the mission like lead in recreational time or teach a class or run music, anything other than be the director.