One-of-a-kind Mission Experiences

Our group mission experiences are a combination of hands-on work, educational opportunities, and small-group learning for youth and adults based around issues of hunger, poverty, and food security. We welcome groups of all sizes and varieties including youth groups, adult teams, school groups, community groups, and families. We believe strongly in educating mission teams about the intersectionality between justice issues. Our mission experiences provide teams with the tools and means to make mission happen within their home communities.

THIS IS NOT POVERTY TOURISM.

Depending on the length of your stay, topics and activities may include:

  • Food security and food justice
  • Community gardens
  • Systemic issues of hunger and poverty
  • Mutuality in mission
  • Basic gardening skills
  • Seed saving
  • Shopping in a food pantry
  • How to shop with food stamps (SNAP)
  • What is the poverty line?
  • Race and poverty
  • Homelessness and working in a shelter
  • Advocacy
  • Food preservation
  • Composting

The length of our mission experiences varies from an afternoon to four days, based on your group's needs and our staff availability. Groups work from approximately 9am-4pm each day. The cost is $15 per person per day paid to us, with an additional $15 a night per person paid to the church for lodging. These costs do not include the team's food, travel, or entertainment activities. Each team is responsible for providing its meals. Some groups choose to bring groceries and cook onsite, while others choose to eat at local restaurants.

Sample Itinerary 1
Sample Itinerary 2
Sample Itinerary 3


United Methodist Ministries (the parent organization of The Big Garden) is an accredited Volunteers in Mission (VIM) site, and its staff is fully certified under the Safe Gatherings system.

To reserve your mission experience, or for questions, contact kwilwerding@biggarden.org.

The following forms must be completed and submitted by all confirmed teams. The mission team roster should be submitted no later than two weeks prior to your arrival. The remaining forms may be submitted upon arrival. Completed forms should be sent to the Big Garden c/o Kay Wilwerding.

Mission Team Roster
Team Leader Release Form
Adult Medical Release Form
Youth Medical Release Form
Participant Liability Release Form

Groups are required to purchase their own insurance for their mission trip. Your regular insurance may or may not cover offsite travel. Additional insurance may be purchased quite inexpensively through the Great Plains United Methodist Conference of the United Methodist Church, or your insurance provider. Click here for more information.