On Sunday, February 10, I gave a sermon called: “The Garden Grows the Community.”
The idea of creating a community garden was introduced in part as a response to what I saw happening in the Children’s Religious Education (RE) Program and in part as a way to live our mission: Grow in Wonder, Connect in Love, Engage in Service, Inspire Generosity.
I asked our congregation to imagine the possibilities a community garden might bring. I asked, if a community could grow a garden, could a garden grow a community?
So now that we’re in October and the summer growing season has almost come to an end, I wanted to share with you some of what did happen.
We grew in wonder and squash! We tried a different planting technique called straw bale gardening. There were several advantages to using straw bale. They acted like raised beds, being more visible and easier on the back. They were easy to prepare and maintain. What did we learn? Don’t put more than a couple of plants per bale, and if planting tomatoes, stake them before they grow too big. We also learned the power of a couple of squash plants. They could produce over 100 squash but also overwhelm the nearby tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. We gazed in wonder at the bees, birds, butterflies, squirrels and deer that visited the garden, pollinating and feasting.
We connected in love each Wednesday evening when food for the potluck was made from our own garden vegetables. New recipes were tried and shared. On Sunday mornings, the weekly harvest went home with members and visitors, spreading the love organically.
I think the garden itself inspired generosity each time it produced more than we could use ourselves. Produce was given to neighbors walking by and to many different people outside of our fellowship who attended meetings here. Veggies were given to the Boys and Girls Club as well. It also inspired our members to be generous with supplies and time. We had many donations of both.