To truly understand the modern-day mission of Harvest Community Inc. it is important to look back at the foundation.
Harold and Audrey Zettl’s calling to Harvest Community started early in their marriage. They were raising children, paying off student loans, and buying a home when they were knocked off course by the devastating death of their infant daughter. Many questions flooded their reality. “Why? What? How?”
In 1969 a charismatic prayer community brought light to their life and they began envisioning a community that welcomed and nurtured people with cognitive disabilities. Harold and Audrey Zettl left their professions to embark on this new journey of faith. What is now known as Harvest Community Inc, began as a community of extended family in 1972.
In 1975, the Zettls left the city and moved to the Kronau district. Their home was open to many walking a challenged journey that required it. In the early years, two intellectually disabled adults were permanent residents in the Zettl home. They believed that we are called by God to take care of each other and our environment, and thus were committed to hospitality, organic farming and being good stewards of the land. It was the desire of Harold and Audrey Zettl to be God's love to all they met. They strived to live and work as community in life’s journey, and to be fully alive through the glory of God.
The first work project was a market garden started on a local farmer’s land. The farmer offered the community a few acres of rich farm land, bought a new tractor and made other equipment available for use. Four Harvesters worked alongside Harold on the project.
In 1978, the Kinsmen Foundation bought an eighty-acre parcel of land for the community with a five-year caveat on it which stated that the land must be developed for the benefit of intellectually disabled people. All members of Harvest Community and many of the neighbours were involved in the building and renovation work that followed.
Harvest purchased a large farm house, and a local ranch donated a barn. For year-round sustainability, indoor projects began. Rag cutting commenced with the assistance of a consultant and the Saskatchewan Association of Rehabilitation Centers. Rags were made in the basement of the large farmhouse.
In 1981 the work center was built and the rag project was moved to this facility. Gradually, Harvest community was able to purchase flag machines and began production. While the work orders continued to expand, there was still a desired emphasis on recreation. In 1990 Harvest Community was given the opportunity to purchase Camp Grizzly at Deschambault Lake. This provided an annual vacation spot for those involved at Harvest Community and is still utilized each summer.
Through the bold faith and courage of Harold and Audrey Zettl, Harvest has flourished into its current state. Harvest Community is a place to belong, a place for people to experience meaningful work, learn life skills, and engage with peers. This is our community!