Local farmer plants seeds to grow community connection

Saturday, June 9, 2018
Glory Hill Family Farm’s Angel Mikusak shows off a healthy, hearty kohlrabi.
By Patti Danner

At Glory Hill Family Farm, Proprietor Angel Mikusak sows the seeds of community every season, enjoying a bountiful harvest of neighborly connection in the process.

Prior to 2013, Mikusak worked more than 60 hours per week in her position as an emergency-room social worker, counseling people in traumatic situations and giving of herself to others on a daily basis and struggling to find time for her own family, husband Paul, son Nick and daughters Abby and Emma.

The passing of her beloved grandmother Bertha Hancock, in 2013, caused Mikusak to examine her life and motivations, and to make the changes that led the Mikusak family to Glory Hill Farms.

“My grandmother was all about family,” Mikusak said. “She was the hub we revolved around and the glue that held us together. She always put out a huge garden and I loved helping her. As I reflected on what I truly wanted to do with my life after she passed, farming seemed like a natural choice.”

So Mikusak quit her job, rolled up her sleeves and got to work creating Glory Hill Farms, Linton’s own Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Glory Hill’s CSA program allows members in Greene County to purchase yearly shares or half-shares of the farm’s yield, paying approximately $15 a week for deliveries of fresh, ultra-organic produce each week for 16 weeks. Glory Hill Farms accepts SNAP cards and WIC vouchers as forms of payment. Produce is delivered in insulated CSA tote bags, which members empty, clean out and leave for Mikusak to pick up when she makes her deliveries.

Mikusak would even like to go a step farther to help the community she calls home.

“I would like to hear from the community so that I can give back,” Mikusak said.

“If anyone knows of a family in need or maybe an elderly person who can’t get out, I would love to hear from them. The person can remain anonymous if that’s preferred, but I would like to donate a few deliveries in that way.”

Mikusak began her endeavor by applying for a grant from the Soil and Water Conservation District, funds which take roughly two years to obtain, with additional funding through a loan from the Farm Service Agency.

Glory Hill Farms has since tripled business, dollar-wise and yield-wise, adding two high-tunnel grow houses to the operation, which uses no pesticides or genetically modified seeds and is Certified Naturally Grown by the national peer-reviewed organization Certified Naturally Grown Farming.

Mikusak, who found resistance locally when she attempted to procure a backhoe to create the irrigation system her farm depends on, found a more supportive heavy-equipment renter in Washington at Washington General Rental.

“In ten minutes, he had taught me the basics of the backhoe. I rented from him for several months and he even came out here to fix it a couple of times when minor things happened,” she said. “I get all of my other supplies and equipment at Shields in Linton. They are very supportive and are always kind and helpful.”

Mikusak’s husband Paul is an Army veteran who now works as a member of the Carpenter’s Union. In the earlier days of their 27-year marriage, the couple lived in Los Angeles, Texas and Hawaii.

“My kids didn’t wear shoes or socks for years,” she said with a laugh. “Hawaii was wonderful. They have a word there, ‘Ohana’, and it means ‘family’.”

According to Wikipedia, the Hawaiian term “Ohana” speaks to the concept of a larger family that is not necessarily connected by blood. ‘A person’s ohana can include their best friends, neighbors, or anyone else who is special in their life. An ohana is special. The people within it are bound together by genuine compassion, culture, support, loyalty, and love for each other. To become a part of someone’s Ohana is a great honor.’

Mikusak intends to cement her ohana with an event scheduled for June 24 called “Community Farm Day”.

The free event, which will take place at Glory Hill Farms from noon to 4 p.m., is meant to bring community members together, giving residents an opportunity to spend time together in a beautiful setting while making and strengthening the bonds which connect us all.

“I have this dream,” Mikusak said, “of neighbor helping neighbor, finding out other people’s talents and supporting each other’s interests. Enjoying a day together and learning.”

The day will feature plenty of opportunities for all, offered by neighbors to benefit neighbors, including:

• Live music by local legend Geoffrey Gentry

• Planting station for kids offered by Michelle Burke. Kids will plant seeds they can take home to tend

• A goat milking station offered by Tommy and Sarah Wall

• Horses for petting and pictures offered by Rachael Wellington and Haley Pickett

• Chicken-feeding offered by Glory Hill Family Farm

• Big tractor on display for pictures offered by Taste of Country Farm of Linton

• Face painting offered by Mrs. Rae Anne Tyre

• Sampling of fresh vegetables and refreshments offered by Glory Hill Family Farm

• Farm walking tour to see farm operations, spring development and natural plants used around the property offered by Glory Hill Family Farm

• Representatives of the USDA and FSA on hand to answer questions and hand out information on farm grants offered by the USDA and FSA

• Booths set up by local Linton farmers to provide information and samples of their creations and offerings as well as a limited amount of items for sale

Guests are encouraged to pack a picnic and make a day of their visit to Glory Hill Family Farm.

For more information, or to nominate a person in need of a free delivery, visit Glory Hill Family Farm on Facebook or call 812-679-6063.

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