After a successful growing season in 2020 where the Garden for All Saints produced 750lbs of produce for local food pantries (New Albany Food Pantry and Gahanna Residents in Need), the Creation Care team at All Saints Episcopal Church in New Albany wanted to find a way to expand a love of gardening to the community. They applied for an ECM grant for funding to hold an event where families who patronized the food pantries could come to All Saints and build container gardens to take home. All of the supplies for the event would be provided through the grant and participants would take home three containers – a container tomato plant, a container of bush beans, and a lettuce bowl – as well as care instructions and recipes for using the produce. Members of All Saints were also invited to participate.
The main goals of the event were 1) to cultivate a love of gardening for all participants and to provide a connection to God’s creation, 2) to provide an opportunity for relationship building between All Saints members and community members, 3) provide ongoing nutrition/sustenance to people in a sustainable way and reduce the need to frequent the store or pantry.
The event took place on May 15, 2021, under bright blue skies. Forty-two people were in attendance, almost an equal split between community members and All Saints members. Several families brought children and participated together – one large family split between two tables and will have twice as much produce in the coming weeks. Some Creation Care team members built their own container gardens and others stepped in to assist participants who requested help. Stephani Delisio, gardener extraordinaire, led the event. She taught participants about the plants themselves, what to expect when they were growing, and how to assemble the gardens. Afterward, a group toured the Gardens for All Saints on the grounds of the church.
The day was glorious – everyone had fun, people got their hands dirty, and the weather was perfect, It could not have been any better than it was and the group hopes to hold the event again next year.
Catherine Duffy is a member of the Creation Care team at All Saints, New Albany, and is also the co-chair of the diocesan Creation Care and Environmental Justice Task Force.