One Church and a Garden

April 9th, 2012
Image © by Downing Street | Flickr | Used under Creative Commons license.

In the spring of 2010, the Micah 6:8 Mission Team from Highland's United Methodist Church and a dedicated group of volunteers established the Victory Community Garden.

The garden was established to allow English as a Second Language students, immigrants, church members, community and regional volunteers to participate in and learn about sound and sustainable urban gardening practices. The garden is open to everyone interested in both learning about and working the soil in an intensive gardening setting. Highland's garden is a producing, demonstrational and educational plot of raised beds totaling approximately 1100 square feet of space. Lessons pertaining to the days' work are taught on site each Saturday morning when volunteers work and harvest during the season.

Highland's Garden is 100% supported by donations. To become vested in the garden, and share in the harvest, any person or family simply works in the garden for 10 hours and donates $10.00 for materials (waived according to the needs and circumstances of each person or family). Large harvests are distributed to volunteers each Saturday morning, with a good share of the produce being allocated and taken to immigrant and "in need" people and families. Each vested family or person may harvest daily what they may need for the evening meal. Several times a week, produce is given to the Inter-faith Food Shuttle for distribution to families in need. In 2010, Highland's garden supplied 23.5% of the donated 5,300 pounds.

The outreach of Highland's Garden has been nothing short of phenomenal. Because of this garden, over 40 new community gardens at churches, schools, private communities, backyards and senior centers have been planned or started. In conjunction with these up and growing gardens, caring  parishioners from Minnesota, Missouri, and Virginia have embraced the garden and will create their own urban oasis in their home states. People from every walk of life and religious beliefs have been brought together in an exceptional demonstration of community involvement and good will.

Every day, Highland's garden is an informal meeting place for friends to sit and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the garden. People have used the garden as a source of solace on their way to sit with very ill family members. Over 80 programs about the garden have been presented to other groups. The term "Victory" in the name of Highland's Community Garden denotes something different to each person that has been touched by this garden ministry.

The outreach and unbelievable support of this garden has exponentially exceeded the goals of its creators. All of the above has undeniably been due to the Grace of God and to the solidification of wholesome ideals by people from every walk of life, regardless of their nationality, income level or religious tenets.

Other ways to be involved

Maybe your church can't create a community garden, support these organizations to help fight hunger.

Plant a Row for the Hungry
Launched in 1995, Plant a Row is a public service program of the Garden Writers Association and the GWA Foundation. Garden writers are asked to encourage their readers/listeners to plant an extra row of produce each year and donate their surplus to local food banks, soup kitchens and service organizations to help feed America’s hungry. There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger.

Society of St. Andrew Gleaning Network
One major area of food waste in America is in farmers' fields, where crops that don't meet top-grade quality are left to rot or be plowed under. Gleaning is the traditional Biblical practice of gathering crops that would otherwise be left in the fields to rot, or be plowed under after harvest. The Gleaning Network coordinates volunteers, growers, and distribution agencies to salvage this food for the needy. Tens of thousands of volunteers participate each year in Society of St. Andrew gleaning activities. Each year, tens of millions of pounds of produce are salvaged and given to the poor at no cost to them.

Feeding America
Feeding America's mission is to feed America's hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage the country in the fight to end hunger. Find a volunteer opportunity in your local community through activities such as sorting, boxing and repackaging donated food to be directed where it's needed most.

comments powered by Disqus