The Beech grove Baptist Church Seedtime and Harvest Community Garden led by Pastor Gregory White received one of the six $10k grants that were awarded this year from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS) in conjunction with the non-profit organization, Community Resources Connection(CRC), Inc. The funding was used to establish a new community garden.
Our project started from scratch whereas the land needed to be cleared of brush and other invasive species. Clearing the land was quite challenging, as there was cold weather, rain and constantly trying to keep up with managing the invasive trees and brush.
We were finally able to construct and install several raised beds and plant our first crop. Unfortunately, due to the weather challenges, we lost the first crop and soon after we were faced with weeks of rain and was not able to get back to the garden. Once the garden site finally dried up enough for us to begin working again, we then dealt with several weeks of extreme heat and then had no access to water. Although the project became quite challenging, we were determined to ensure success of the project. Once we were able to access the garden location, we then installed a water meter which provided a continuous flow of water for the crops. Although we were encouraged by others not to plant because of the heat but we chose to continue!
However, with the assistance of the Southern University Ag Center (assistance with project layout and plant recommendations, Silverback Land Service (Assist with clearing and managing the site in preparation to deliver the raised beds) the City of Baker with administrative related tasks and individual community members who provided their time and efforts to build, install and prepare the raised beds for planting.
The Community Garden is planted and well on its way to providing community members with local fresh produce. It goes without saying that with the tenacity of neighbors, it is surely a testament of faith, fellowship and stewardship and working together as a community.
Experiencing the challenges is well worth our efforts to create social ties and build a greater feeling of community. These connections help reduce crime, empower residents, and allow residents to feel safe in their neighborhoods. We will also have opportunity to assist with fighting against obesity, provide educational workshops on healthy eating. In addition, this project would allow the community to learn how to grow their own produce. We are excited about this challenge and our partnerships. We now have a place for all to gather…seniors, youth, and learn, share, sow your seeds and harvest in abundance, while having a space where we can gather as a community. We are grateful to God for the opportunity and the Beech Grove Baptist Church family to grow in our faith and commitment to serving others.
The garden has the capacity to provide local fresh produce to 200 + community members. We currently have over 30 volunteers and would like to invite others to come and partner with us and be a part of our continued success! For more information contact us at [email protected] . We look forward to providing a follow up on the status of our garden.