Day 15: A Church Garden

Day 15: A Church Garden March 6, 2015
(We’re revisiting this post from 2014.)

A Church Garden

The idea for a garden originated with a mission program presented for our Women’s Group., where information was shared from Presbyterian publications on the many ways that churches have been helping with food for people in need.

At about the same time one of our members was given some free seeds, leftovers from past seasons, some many years ago. We would need to have faith that these seeds might still grow. The seeds were distributed at the women’s meeting and at church the following week, and members were asked to try to start the seeds at home.  After only a few weeks we started to get results, the biggest event being 2 styrofoam cups which each sprouted more than 50 tomato seedlings!

Members brought in their seedlings and sent them home with others to grow out.  It was a long and cold spring with 12 inches of snow in May.  Meanwhile our church session agreed to have us use the side yard for a garden, and we set about making containers and gathering cardboard, soil, mulch and compost, hoops, wire and pots. We were able to get recycled materials for most of our needs while we waited for the weather to improve.

On June 8 we started putting in the garden.  When we noted an older woman sitting on the step of a business across from the garden, resting on her way home from the store, we decided we needed a bench in the garden.  One of our members used surplus wood from his workshop to construct one.

We harvested our first crops of lettuce and radishes on July 7th.  We had decided that the produce should be available for anyone who could benefit from fresh fruits or veggies.  The first picking was after church on Sunday with about half going to members to distribute and the other half going to the local food shelf.

The rest is history.  Our first growing season has ended.  We have distributed many plants to folks, grown boxes, bags and handfuls of produce from our little garden and from members’ home gardens, and created new possibilities for our community.  Not only has the food provided benefits, but many people have mentioned how much they enjoyed seeing the garden grow there on the corner and how inspired and encouraged they felt.


Sharing God’s Bounty

(This is the handout given to church members with the packets of seeds that kicked off the project.)

We have been given some free garden seeds – some are old and some are very old – but sometimes seeds will grow for a long time.  So, PLEASE help yourself.

What could you do with these seeds?

  1. Start the seeds and give seedlings away to kids, friends, family, neighbors.
  2. Use the seeds to grow an extra row in your garden and then share.
  3. Donate surplus produce to the food shelf or to those who need it.
  4. Give people free seeds.
  5. Teach someone to garden.  
  6. No space? Grow food in containers or ask someone to donate space.
  7. Make something yummy with your produce and offer samples.
  8. Grow flowers to share – food for the body, flowers for the soul.
  9. What can you do to “grow community” with your seeds?    

Submitted by the congregations of First Presbyterian Church, Rushford, Minnesota, and Trinity Lutheran, Rushford, Minnesota.



Lenten Calendar for MARCH 6

How far do you have to walk to get clean drinking water? Count your steps and donate a nickel for each step.




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We need your stories!

We’re already looking ahead to the 40 Days for Food Justice Project for 2016 and we’re looking for more stories, experiences, prayers and resources about food justice and food injustice.

If you would like to contribute – or would like to recommend a contributor – please send us an email and let us know.



In addition to being the founder and editor-in-chief of the “40 Days for Food Justice Project”, the Rev. MargaretAnne Overstreet is a mom, a Presbyterian pastor, and a certified Health Coach. She does ministry with and among the good people of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Belleville, Illinois, where she gets her hands dirty in the community garden and, every Sunday, preaches with bare feet. She treasures family time, relishes every opportunity to teach and write about food justice, and loves to play outside with her dogs. Find out more about her at


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