Tuesday, January 20, 2009

we've got to get ourselves back to the garden . . .

I can't stop thinking about gardens.

Community gardens, to be specific.
I don't know why--I have no gardening experience. Our property would not support a garden. And I've murdered every houseplant I've ever owned.

But still, I'm fascinated by the concept . . .

And I've noticed it's not just me. The guy who fixed my water-heater yesterday stopped in to say that he'd decided to convert a portion of his small farm into a community garden.

"I want to help folks at church and in the neighborhood be better prepared for the lean days ahead," Harry explained.

I just discovered that the Vineyard church in Boise, ID, runs a community garden dubbed the Garden-O-Feedin. Here's a snippet from their blog (http://www.letstendthegarden.org/):

The vision of the garden is to supplement, with healthy organically grown vegetables, the pantries of those in need. Two benevolent farmers markets are held each week, Wednesdays and Saturdays under the garden arbor.

In 2007 the garden produced and gave away over 20,000 lbs. of produce, feeding approximately 1281 families, representing around 4108 individuals. Not only does the garden feed those in need, this year we've started holding classes to educate it's volunteers and the community about gardenings value to the enviornment and the many differen't ways to enjoy meals with garden produce.Wise water usage,organic methods of soil and crop development, pest control, composting and the benefits of mulching are some of the classes planned for next season.

I love it! I wonder if there's anything like this in the Portland area?

The village we visit each summer has a community garden. Spread out along the banks of the Yukon, the garden is one of the most scenic spots in the village and I love to hang out there and chat as the locals plant and weed and swap the latest gossip. Even brother Bob, the Franciscan lay priest who organized the community garden, lets down his guard a bit when he's digging in the dirt. He's not always friendly to visiting evangelicals, but he'll lean over the fence and visit for a bit, rubbing sweat from his brow with his grimy hands.

Even though I've not yet experienced it, there's something about a community garden that seems, well, communal. To sow and to reap together sounds almost spiritual to me. And then to enjoy the fruits of your labor and share the bounty with the hungry in Christ's name--I can't think of a better example of communion.

We are having dinner with friends this week who started an organic, family-run farm this past year. They had no prior experience, but stepped out in bold faith and the Lord has blessed their endeavor. I'm excited to see what they've accomplished--who knows, maybe they'll even let me hang out and plant a seed or two this spring.

So, I'm not sure where this is heading. But the Lord has planted some interesting seeds in my heart . . .