Why a vegetable garden?
- We promote the value of sharing what we are blessed with.
- Fresh food is essential for health, especially as food Insecurity in Washtenaw County ranges from 14-16%.
The veggie garden program was originally created to distribute food to the hungry via Food Gatherers in Ann Arbor, and used the slogan “Plant a row for the hungry.”
St Barnabas wanted to serve as an example to encourage community members to also plant a row to share. Space on the street-facing part of the church grounds was selected to highlight this desire.
The program evolved as others (including local farmers) did share, and as distribution sites became available in Chelsea. Faith in Action (an arm of Food Gatherers) opened a new building in Chelsea in 1989. Hearts Community Service also distributed food, primarily via soup for the homeless in Ann Arbor.
Faith in Action gets fresh vegetables from the St Barnabas garden, supplemented with canned & dry goods throughout year. The congregation is notified weekly of current most-needed items
Essentials to grow food:
- dirt (ie, growth medium, supplemented with compost and use of straw
- water access
- gardener/s – now & future, with prior knowledge or teachable
- access to seeds and/or plants
Improvements to the garden in recent years include
- a fence with gate. This is due to our robust population of deer, rabbits, and other creatures
- raised beds. These were installed to help improve drainage, make the best use of available space, ease of access, and to help clearly identify what was planted where
- a watering system. A path for the piping was designed, and ¾” PVC pipe was laid and glued. A 55-gallon rain barrel was installed to collect water for free use, without any city-added chemicals. The system distributes water at root level for close control. It is still work in progress, being gradually refined.
The Veggie Gardeners continue in their ministry each growing season, to expose others to fresh food, new tastes, and the miracle of growth.
How wonderful for St Barnabas to cultivate such bountiful peace and beauty for our community to enjoy year round!