GOD’S COMMUNITY GARDEN, originally known as the Methodist Community Gardens, has grown and given away 20 tons (40,000 lbs) of vegetables and herbs to our neighbors in need over the past ten years and provided programs that benefit all through education, mentoring and volunteering. There is no restriction as to religion, race or ethnicity. The garden also grows and distributes more than 200 vases of flowers per year, to all local nursing homes and shut-ins. We strive to provide a safe, beautiful and well equipped garden facility. The garden has been in existence since 1996 under the leadership of retired Bishop Dale White and in 2008 after working in the garden as a volunteer Linda Wood took over as coordinator. For information on volunteering at the garden and for information on the weekly farm stands go to local missions
Garden Report for Weeks of Sept. 20th and 27th
Our main summer harvest is over and we will start putting the summer beds to winter rest and replant in the hoop houses for winter production. We are still harvesting squash, tomatoes outside. We are waiting patiently for a frost so we can harvest our Westfield turnips. The cold is supposed to make them sweet. We also have new crops of lettuce, spinach and watermelon radishes growing outside. Inside we are losing our cucumbers quickly, tomato production is slowing, the pepper crop is still heavy. Linda W. and Judy have been doing some planting in the hoop houses already. So far the winter crops we have are celery, chard and some kale and collards started.
Thanks to Mary D. and her helper Zhongli the bean field is almost empty and ready for the straw to be put on the rows. Patrick and two students from the Middletown Schools have come once and will be coming to work on the bean field too. That field looks better than it ever has before and was more productive than it has been in many years.
Judy has started working on taking down the beans on the circular supports and putting straw on them. So in the coming weeks we will try to get everything out and then put straw on the beds. We do need to plant the garlic now. The job of bagging vegetables is mainly over but as we take out crops we will be doing a little harvesting. The food will go to the Portsmouth Food Bank and to Salvation Army.
We feel that our Farm Stands went really well despite the pandemic and our customers were grateful for the produce. We will have to see what next year brings as to whether we keep the new system or go back to the four stands. If my calculations are right we have made the two ton amount in this years harvest. Great work everyone.
Letter from a volunteer – June 2020:
Growing God’s Church through Gardening
If you have ever volunteered in God’s Garden outside our church, you are truly blessed.
If I had not taken the opportunity to work in the garden this past year, I would have missed many blessings and opportunities to serve others through this wonderful ministry. Being here with my family for just a year while my son-in-law was at the War College, I didn’t have much time to get involved. But God led me to Calvary Church and to God’s Garden.
I’m no master gardener, but I do love playing in the dirt. I love being outdoors and watching things grow and the seasons change. I love the meditation of gardening, the spiritual discipline of gardening, of losing myself in the goodness of hard work, of using all my senses to watch, listen, smell, feel and taste God’s goodness in the food He grows through the use our hands and feet.
I love doing all this with the purpose of feeding God’s children in need and sharing His love in this way. During this Covid-19 experience, we’ve seen firsthand the importance of those “essential” workers, not only on the front lines in hospitals but of those helping to feed all of us during this time of shut down— the grocery store workers, the take-out restaurants, the farmers and truckers—and even God’s Garden, helping to feed those in need locally.
I’ve learned a lot about gardening this year. And I’ve met the most amazing ladies—awesome gardeners, incredibly strong, kind and welcoming, they support one another as they work tirelessly to minister to others in this way. It’s not easy dealing with weather extremes and aching joints but they keep showing up and being faithful. They’ve taught me a lot just by watching them.
As I am weeding, digging, planting, or picking, I am in awe of God’s goodness and His provision for us, how He miraculously makes things grow, and how He grows us as we participate with Him in whatever He’s doing in the world.
During this past year, I’ve also been reading Inner Gardening by Diane Dreher. It’s a wonderful book about gardening through the seasons, but it’s also a book about tending the garden of our inner selves and souls throughout the seasons of life. It’s a book any gardener or wannabe gardener would love.
My year here in Newport and Middletown was cut short by this hideous virus and soon I’ll be off to the desert of New Mexico. But I loved every moment of worshiping with God’s people at Calvary UMC, and every moment of working in God’s Garden with these lovely ladies, and I just want to give thanks for all of you and your ministry to me with your welcoming presence. You have blessed me for a lifetime and I give God thanks for my short time with you. God bless you in the days and years to come, as you continue to welcome and minister to those who come for a chapter or a lifetime.
~Love and prayers, Cindy
God’s Community Garden, we believe, is run by faith. This amazing garden is “GOD’S WORK OUR HANDS” It is filled with so much love and dedication and it just keeps on GIVING. We are blessed with donations and grants.
Our plans just evolve. If we need something done, volunteers, students, school groups are here whenever we ask. Funding is always provided and the production just keeps on growing. When we need more, the opportunities arise. Then become a reality. We are always trying to find new ideas to make our garden special.
Most grants are given to the garden for specific projects not for operational use. Since God’s Community Garden is operating year round it becomes harder for us to receive these funds that we are dependent on. We have no operating capital for our everyday programs, repairs, improvements or expansions unless we write in for a grant or ask for donations which is not always the right time to do so. We are running our garden from hand to mouth so to speak. Everything we produce is given away so we have no return of our investment for another year. Our garden is operated only with the funds that we receive. Although it is always a challenge it is not as important as the people we serve. We will keep the faith and everything will be done.
FOR INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN DONATE TO GOD’S COMMUNITY GARDEN, PLEASE CONTACT THE PUMC CHURCH OFFICE AT 401-683-4005. YOU MAY ALSO FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE GARDEN AT http://www.godscommunitygarden.com/ AND ON FACEBOOK AT http://www.godscommunitygardenri.com/