Holy Cross Durham Community Garden
Holy Cross Catholic Church, a historically African American parish in Durham, N.C., has a strong history of outreach and engagement, especially providing food assistance to those in need in the city and county of Durham, where the poverty rate is at 19.5% of the population. The parish created a test garden in late summer 2013: two 8x4-ft. raised beds built and planted by five adult and two teen volunteers in the parish.
This initial test garden yielded 13 heads of lettuce that were donated to an interfaith food network in the community, and fresh collard greens for about 40 of the households receiving Thanksgiving meal packages. The parish also started a small composting project, to teach the value of turning food scraps from parish functions into nutrients for the garden.
The goal for 2014 is to expand the garden to about 30 x 20 feet initially, enabling households to grow vegetables for their own use and to plant several rows to support the parish’s outreach activities.
The garden project will engage all sectors of the parish community, giving youth an opportunity to work with the soil and plants, to encourage families to work together in their individual garden plots, and to increase use of fresh produce in meals, both for the gardeners and those receiving produce through parish outreach activities. Participants will help select what will grow, learn gardening techniques and stewardship of the earth, and enjoy the fruits of their efforts. Plans are to incorporate seating for meditation and accessible beds that will enable the parish’s elderly members to participate.
Youth ministers have already committed to having their students help and adults are being recruited to help with the physical structures, including garden design, management, harvest and distribution.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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