Gardens Bring Community Together

In October 2011 members of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Vancouver, Washington began meeting to explore the possibility of installing a community garden on their property.  On March 24 of this year, those plans became a reality as over 30 people – some St. Andrew members and some not – worked to install 20 raised beds.  There was such a high demand for the garden plots that four additional beds have since been added, and all have been sold out.  

St. Andrew’s high school youth helped install the garden plots as a service project.  They are also renting one of the plots, learning how to grow healthy and sustainable food.   They plan to donate much of the produce to a local food bank.

 A goal of the planning team was to include not just experienced gardeners but also those brand new to gardening.  Currently, seven plots are rented to low-income families in the community at no cost, including refugee clients of Lutheran Community Services Northwest.

“We have been growing seedlings on our kitchen table, hoping and praying for somewhere to grow them.  This is a God-send, and it’s within walking distance of my house!” said a low-income plot renter.  

Other plot renters include the St. Andrew Preschool, a Girl Scout troop, and a dental office. A square-foot gardening workshop was held at the church on April 21, and garden mentors are available to assist gardeners. In addition a wide variety of seeds and seedlings have been made available to gardeners at no additional cost.