​First Church dishes the dirt on community garden

Print More
By Marilyn Sponzo
Remember the old adage: good things come to those who wait? The First Congregational Church community garden is certainly a case in point.
Three years ago, a few intrepid gardeners, all members of First Church, decided to grow popcorn to distribute in the community. On a small plot generously donated by the Granby Grange, they planted their first crop—and waited. After a long, hot, dry summer only a few straggly ears emerged.
Fast forward to 2015.  With an additional year of planting experience and an organized plan of attack, the entire church community joined the garden brigade. In early spring, the 100-x-60-foot plot was tilled and the soil supplemented. A large maple sap container was installed as a water reservoir, to be filled by a hose connected to the grange’s outdoor faucets once the growing season began. At a Sunday coffee hour in April, church members selected seeds and potting soil, and created mini-pots to take home to nurture. On a beautiful May morning after worship, they descended upon the garden to plant their now-robust seedlings. Throughout the summer, they weeded and watered, patiently waiting to see the fruits of their labor.
The result—800 pounds of sun-kissed squash, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, leeks, onions, radishes, sunflowers, zucchini, herbs and flowers! Throughout the summer, members delivered much of the garden’s yield to Granby’s Waste Not Want Not Kitchen, and also provided produce to individuals in need. The church’s “Come for Breakfast – Stay for Lunch” initiative, which offers both meals on Sunday mornings in the church hall, also used the vegetables. The remainder was available to church members after the Sunday morning service.
Commenting on the success of the community garden, the senior pastor, Rev. Dr. Ginny McDaniel noted, “The garden has been a gift in so many ways. We’ve been able to provide nutritious food to people in need, and we’ve become even closer and more energized as a faith community. The garden has also been the subject of sermons and Sunday School exploration, and, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tomatoes?”
First Church would like to thank the Granby Grange for its generosity in making its property available for the community garden.
Caption: First Church teens tend the radish patch in the church’s community garden. Submitted photo