By Susan Durant
Tim Owings and the Mission Farm Bakery have been part of the charm of Mission Farm for the past 23 years.
Many a passerby remembers when the bakery was also a café offering simple fare for locals to stop by and enjoy. More recently, Owings has maintained the bakery as a wholesale business.
Owings came to Mission Farm initially on a spiritual retreat in the 1980s, where he stayed at the Heminway Guest House. He said he felt an immediate connection to the space. At that time, he had a wholesale bakery business in Warren, Vermont.
After his initial visit, any time he was in Killington to drop off baked goods at local stores, he would stop at Mission Farm for some quiet time of reflection. In the late 1990s he was ready for a change. He wanted to live a simple life as part of Mission Farm and the Church of Our Saviour Community. He wanted to dedicate his talents to support the ministries of Mission Farm.
Owings restored the log cabin, and he helped fund a space for a bakery in exchange for the opportunity to live and work as the baker at Mission Farm. Over the years Owings has donated his skills to provide food for those in need, catering to Mission Farm retreat groups, played the church’s organ, tended the flower gardens and created beautiful flower arrangements for the church.
At the end of 2020, Owings plans to retire from the bakery and remain in the cabin at Mission Farm.
In his youth he studied at the Maryland Institute of Art. He is enthusiastic about retiring at Mission Farm, and said, “I can finally fulfill my dream of being enmeshed in creating visual art.”
Owings is pleased with all the new happenings at Mission Farm, since Rev. Lisa Ransom, the new vicar and executive director started last spring.
He said, “I get great joy from the beauty Lisa has brought to this space.”
He also looks forward to the bakery being reimagined for service to the community and helping provide food for those in need.
An old soup ladle Ransom found while going through stored items in the parish hall offered her inspiration. It belonged to Gertude Heminway, a past vicar’s wife, known for providing soup and meals to those in need during the Great Depression. Ransom said she could feel the connection of providing food for those in need as part of the fabric of Mission Farm.
Ransom has been working with the Rutland Hunger Council and the Vermont Food Bank to find ways to expand local food access for the food insecure, especially in this time of Covid. Mission Farm is a hub for the Vermont Everyone Eats (vteveryoneeats.org) on Thursday afternoons through the end of December.
Vermont Everyone Eats provides nutritious meals from local restaurants to Vermonters in need of food assistance, as well as a stabilizing source of income for Vermont restaurants, farmers, and food producers. Funded by the Vermont Legislature to address Covid impacts, it is administered by Southeastern Vermont Community Action.
Ransom is grateful for the support from the local community. Mission Farm received a donation of $2,500 from the Killington Play it Forward Fund on the recommendation of Mike Solimano and the Killington/Pico Resort.
She said, “this will help with our mission to help with food access in this time of great community need.” She went on to say, “Mission Farm looks forward to a robust growing season on the property to provide food for the bakery efforts… All community members are invited to participate in food and garden programs which will be listed on the Mission Farm website later this winter.”
Church of Our Saviour services and Mission Farm programs are open to all. MissionFarmVt.org lists opportunities for involvement in community programs and services as well as links for donations.