Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Growing Again

Amy hard at work turning the soil.

We are gardening again. But this year it's a lot different. Last year we had 3 gardens with 32 beds. This year we have one 8 x 24 foot bed. So why did we change?

In late 2010 we had an idea of utilizing the 300+ vacant lots in our neighborhood for growing food. City-owned lots are available for lease from the city for $5 for 5 years for gardening. The idea was that having residents grow food on the lots beautifies the neighborhood and gets fresh, healthy food available here. Also, it reveals the glory of God in creation and how He set us to rule over it. An added bonus is that the city no longer has to spend tax money to keep up the lots.

So that was our idea, but we weren't sure where to go with it. Then we more or less stumbled into taking on three defunct community gardens. We were up for the task, and thought we would have another opportunity of selling the produce and paying neighborhood kids to work in the gardens. At that point we began the journey of learning how hard gardening is. The summer was one of the worst in St. Louis history, being incredibly hot and dry. Our gardens didn't produce much at all. But we were able to reward one youth for working in the garden with a donated laptop.

By the end of the season, it became obvious that the method we were using was not the way to accomplish our goal, and not just because it was a lot of work. We were on other people's land, and the gardens were massive. The original vision was to come alongside families and teach them to garden. We were not leading the vision with our actions. So we let everyone know we were done with the gardens. They reverted to their previous organizations. Luckily, two of the three are still being utilized.

We were left without a garden, but still had a vision with such real potential - not only for provision, but for teaching skills and revealing who God is. Then came the Leadership Center. The Leadership  
Center is where missionaries transition into full-time ministry, shared resources, and living in their own housing. When we got the house, there was an 8 x 24 foot raised bed in the backyard. Now we could really engage the vision. We have a reasonably sized garden with the goal of supporting a family (or nine adult missionaries plus a baby).

the bed before any work.  all grass!

We ended up planting rather late in the season, due to a missionary wedding, but things are growing. We are also starting a medicinal herb garden, and there are plenty of flowers promising to pop up.

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