Eric shared the story behind Bear Canyon Farm at the MEA Church on Sabbath, Nov. 10th, 2018.
What’s growing this season?
This spring we have planted a variety of fruits and vegetables including raspberries, asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, grapes and over 200 fruit trees. This totals over 2,600 plants in all and covers approximately 2 acres. We also have a variety of seedlings waiting to be planted outside. We are finishing our irrigation set up and laying the last of the weed barrier.
What’s next for Bear Canyon Farm?
This summer we will be setting up two 30x100ft hoop house frames that were donated last fall. They have been dismantled and are waiting to be re-erected and re-covered. We will also be building a trellis and will re-apply for the GTA grant this fall.
Next spring, we will plant two additional acres of fruit trees. Once everything is planted, Bear Canyon Farm will be operating five acres in total. When we reach full production, farm activities will include providing produce for the MEA cafeteria, selling at local farmer’s markets, and selling through a CSA (community supported agriculture) program.
How can I help?
We appreciate your prayers as we continue to establish Bear Canyon Farm.
We could use help with various building projects this summer. If this falls under your expertise, or you are willing to lend a helping hand, we would greatly appreciate the help!
If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please make checks out to:
“Bear Canyon Farm”
3271 Bozeman Trail Rd.,
Bozeman, MT 59715
How are donation funds used?
100% of your donations are used for operating expenses such as seeds, plants, irrigation equipment, fuel and student labor.
Just getting back from picking up an entire trailer load of donated trees for the Glacier View Elementary school’s fundraiser and some fruit trees for Bear Canyon Farm! These were donated by a generous nursery in Oregon. In the mean time we were able to pick up 70 other plants ordered from another nursery in the area and save a couple hundred dollars in shipping costs. Now we just need spring to come! We will be getting these bare root trees in the ground as soon as possible!
So happy to share again after a long break! Moving with a 1 and 3 year old was a big job, but it is finally done. Now, we can re-focus on this project again. As you all probably know, the weather hasn’t been cooperating for spring planting and it doesn’t look like it will be for a few more weeks.
Nevertheless, we have been using this delay to layout our plans in more detail. We also have ordered all of our raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb, and asparagus plants/crowns, transplanted the bell pepper, eggplant, and tomato plants to larger trays (about 300 plants-see the pics), and are working on many other details such as hoop house, irrigation and various supply needs. We also hope to have a variety of fruit trees to put in the ground once it’s thawed.
Despite the challenges we have had to get to this point, we are so thankful for all God has provided to get this project established! Many who pledged for the GTA grant still donated their pledge, some even beyond their pledge, and we have more than enough funds to keep us very busy. Thank you to everyone for your continued support, and if you want to come get your hands dirty, we will have hundreds of plants to get in the dirt in May!
To all those who have pledged generously to Bear Canyon Farm:
First of all, we want to thank you for your support! We appreciate it so much. Second of all, we’d like to share an update.
On February 8th we made our proposal to the Growth Through Agriculture Grant Board. After a long two-week wait, we received a letter notifying us that Bear Canyon Farm had been denied the grant funding requested. There are a couple reasons for this: 1) the Growth Through Agriculture Grant board had five times more requests for funds than funding to disperse and; 2) Bear Canyon Farm was not in a priority category (this year the board focused on projects such as expanding businesses).
Although this was very disappointing news, we know God is leading in this project and will continue to provide as we move forward, according to His will and in His time. Again, thank you for your pledge and support as we applied for this grant.
The pledges were made on the condition that Bear Canyon Farm would receive the Growth Through Agriculture Grant. However, if you would still like to donate all or part of your pledge, we would certainly appreciate the support. If you choose to contribute, please make checks payable to “Bear Canyon Farm” and send your donation to: Bear Canyon Farm c/o Mount Ellis Academy, 3641 Bozeman Trail Rd, Bozeman, MT 59715.
Due to the snow, we haven’t yet been able to move to Bozeman. We hope to be able to break through the snow drifts starting mid-March and get settled! After March 31st, the Bear Canyon Farm mailing address will be: Bear Canyon Farm, 3271 Bozeman Trail Rd, Bozeman, MT 59715. Until then we will continue to use the Mount Ellis Academy address listed above.
Thank you again for your prayers and support!
Eric and Katie Harris and
The Bear Canyon Farm Board
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WOW! Thank you so much to everyone for your generosity! We have received $7,190 in donations and $49,600 in conditional pledges for matching funds toward the GTA grant! Thank you all for your support! It is extremely encouraging to us as we establish Bear Canyon Farm.
We are excited to share that we have completed and submitted the GTA grant application! The date for when we give our final oral presentation before finding out whether or not we get funding has been postponed from December to February 8th or 9th.
Also, another grant application was completed and submitted that is through the Annie’s food company. It gives a number of Grants for Gardens, offering $3,000 for new applicants! It funds schools who want to have gardens and incorporate them into their curriculum. We will also find out in February if our application made the cut, so stay tuned! We will keep you all posted on what we learn in February!
On October 24th our application was approved by the IRS for tax exempt status! Bear Canyon Farm is now an IRS-designated 501(c)3 organization. We are so thankful for how quickly our application was processed. All donations can now be made out directly to Bear Canyon Farm and will be tax deductible. At this time, please continue to send donations to the Mount Ellis Academy address until March, after the farm manager has moved there.
Bear Canyon Farm was formed on May 25, 2017, as a nonprofit organization in the state of Montana. The organization’s application for tax exempt status under Section 501(c)3 is pending before the Internal Revenue Service. During this interim period, the organization can treat itself as exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3). However, contributors to the organization do not have advance assurance of deductibility because the organization’s exemption is pending. If the organization ultimately qualifies for exemption for the period in which the contribution is made, the contribution will be tax-deductible by the donor. Alternatively, if the organization ultimately does not qualify for exemption, then the contribution will not be tax deductible. We recommend consultation with a qualified tax professional if you have questions about tax deductible contributions.
Since it can take as long as a year for our IRS tax exempt status to be approved, we have arranged with Mount Ellis Academy to take donations so that it can be assured to be tax deductible while our application is pending. This is called a fiscal sponsor arrangement and it allows all donations that go through MEA to be tax deductible to the donor, regardless of Bear Canyon Farm’s status. We are considered a project under their tax-exempt status until we receive our own, as long as all of our activities remain in compliance with our fiscal sponsor contract. Feel free to contact us with any questions regarding this arrangement.
NOTE: If you would like to learn more about fiscal sponsor agreements, please read the following link for more information:https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/fiscal-sponsorship-nonprofits