The Good Shepherd Organic Garden produces lettuce, greens, zucchini, tomato, basil, dill, kale and beans. Three different families have plots as part of a community garden, and the produce is used for the Sandwich Ministry, Friday lunches and to give to those in need.
The idea of an organic garden came to our Vicar Este Cantor as an extension of Good Shepherd’s ministry to the day laborers in our neighborhood, a way to work with them rather than just offering one-time assistance. A vegetable garden could also become a source of good, organic produce for the neighborhood, an area with few organic, healthy, food options.
A history of miracles
The idea of the garden took hold, but we had to find a way to clear the space behind the parish hall, and money for a gate to protect the rear of the property. One day, a number of the day laborers who had been attending Wednesday morning services offered to work on Vicar Este’s house or garden for a day in thanks. She asked if they would be willing to work on the church garden instead, and with their glad help, the area behind the parish hall was cleared and readied for planting.
A small grant from Alameda County Deanery provided money to buy materials for raised beds, but how could we get the large amount of dirt needed into the beds? Answer: Concerned Evangelicals, a group that was going to be in the area for a conference. Out of the blue they emailed Vicar Este looking for a service project to work on that Saturday. (The group of about 30 men found us online, listed as an inclusive, gay-friendly congregation.) They were delighted to help with the work of filling the raised beds, and even donated plants!
Phase Two: Expanding
Phase two began with the creation of a garden in the channel beside the church (dormant due to post-fire repairs). Free Farm and Urban Adamah helped with donations for beds, and with plant starts to get the garden going.
Thanks be to God!