The garden ministry is a Green Team initiative providing vegetables for area food pantries and community members here at Wesley and the greater Coles County region. If you are interested in adopting a garden box or volunteering at our Giving in-ground Garden, please contact Karen Clausing (email@example.com) /217-273-0597) or Robin Murray (firstname.lastname@example.org /217-549-0199).
“The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it,/the world, and those who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). The familiar first line is incomplete without the second, less well-known declaration, which calls us to love not just God’s earth but also everyone in the world. Work for justice, especially for those who suffer because of climate change. Here are a few more tips for February from United Methodist Church Creation Justice.
The new congressional year has started. Write a letter or email to your representative and senators. Talk about your desire for action that addresses your concern for creation justice. Indicate you are both a constituent and a person of faith. Policy makers pay more attention to letters from individuals, and they need a broader religious perspective than they often expect.
Soil isn’t just dirt. It’s a habitat for millions of microbes that are essential for growing nutritious food for all. Discontinue the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides on your lawn and land. Love your microbes and you love everyone who eats food. Avoid food waste by storing it properly. Especially when stored in plastic, fruit may ripen more quickly than you can use it. Vegetables are sensitive to the ripening gases, so a basic rule is to separate fruit and vegetables. Some produce does best on the counter; others, in a cool, dry place; and some are better in the fridge. Find out what does best where.
In 2020, the church had a large unused area of lawn with a water hydrant…the perfect spot for a garden! Despite COVID, we started small with one 4’x8’ raised bed & two 4’ grow bags tended by the Green Team. While not wildly productive, it was a good learning experience. That fall, a scout with BSA Troop 141 expanded our garden for his Eagle Project. Alex’s design made our garden disability accessible with a wide paver path, two 2’x4’ waist high & eight 4’x4’ knee high raised beds situated on a weed barrier edged with brick. 2021 kicked off with a fun Earth Day event planting vegetables & flowers for pollinators in our greatly improved garden. Foraging deer enjoyed our efforts as much as we did so temporary fencing & a gate were welcome additions.
According to Dr. Michael Gillespie, EIU Sociology Professor, families with children in our county had a 22.4% poverty rate & 44.1% food insecurity rate in 2018 so our goals for 2022 expanded to include growing fresh, healthy vegetables for those in need. This spring we doubled the size of the garden & enclosed it with 7’ deer fencing. The raised beds are assigned, as before, to gardeners for their personal use; vegetables from in-ground rows will be donated to local food pantries. Networking with similar community projects & destinations for our produce as well as outreach on campus & to the community are ongoing. Volunteers with a variety of skills are always welcome … gardening, of course, but also networking, organizing educational activities, & distributing vegetables to name a few. Our garden continues to grow so join the fun, enjoy time outside in nature, get to know other gardeners, & put your faith to work helping our neighbors!