I have several notebooks containing ideas I’ve written down over the years pertaining to Orthodox lessons I would like to (or have) created. Far too many of them sit undeveloped and waiting on the pages of my notebooks but I’ve been trying to be more proactive about making them a reality rather than simply an idea on paper.
One such idea still sits untouched on a page of one of my notebooks – the idea of starting a parish community garden as part of a unit on being a Steward of God’s Earth.
One of our parish’s former assistant priests moved to Michigan about two years ago where he is now the priest of Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church. He recently created a facebook page for a portion of their building project – their parish community garden.
Without a doubt, this immediately caught my attention when I saw the invite from Fr. Ciprian to look at their facebook page. I thought it would be a pertinent topic to share with all of you given I’ve been blogging about Orthodox kitchen traditions for the past several months. We have an abundance of kitchen traditions and customs surrounding our faith but I think at the heart of it all is being a thoughtful steward of God’s earth. In this I mean, we care not only for the harvest from our garden but also feeding the people around us – caring for all of God’s creation! This parish is providing a roadmap for other parishes to follow. This is an ideal learning opportunity for those of us who would like to see this implemented at our own parishes as well.
They are in the process of building a new church and have incorporated the idea of having a parish community garden in their plans as well. The garden will serve as a produce market using a donation honor system and also as a resource for local restaurants to purchase local produce. The idea for the produce market is – if you need food but cannot afford it, then take some food grown from their garden and you do not need to pay anything. If you are looking to support local produce markets, then please leave the amount you think is appropriate as a donation. The parish will also be reaching out to local restaurants to become sponsors of the garden as they use these local herbs, fruits, and vegetables from their garden in their restaurants. Families of the parish can also become sponsors of a bed of the garden – which means they plant the seeds in starter trays, bring them home with them, care for the seedlings, and then bring them back in June when they begin their planting season.
The Archangel Gabriel parish has just begun this inspirational endeavor this year. They have plenty of wonderful photos up on their facebook page for you to browse and explore from afar. If I could, my family would be digging in the dirt along side everyone else at that parish but, for now anyway, I’m going to have to stay content by marveling from afar and supporting them in anyway I can from here. If you’re as inspired by this project as I am, please consider donating to their community garden in addition to saying a prayer for a bountiful harvest for them and a fruitful opportunity to care for their local community.
Future garden beds