By Sharon Arnold
A Covenant United Methodist Church group gathered in 2016 to explore a community garden to be developed on their one-acre empty lot next to the church. A dream to give this lot a fruitful purpose was born!
The dream started into action! Planning the layout, writing rules and regulations, and obtaining permits soon followed. Other community gardens were visited, meetings took place, and donations were given.
A seven-foot fence was installed to keep the ever-present deer out. Paths were formed, drip systems were installed, and needed officers were elected.
A very generous landscape company owner and father of a preschool student at our building came forward, offering his invaluable time, skills, materials, and equipment.
Energetic Eagle Scout candidates volunteered. The results now include seventy-one raised beds, four handicapped beds, and eight completed Eagle Scout projects.
Grants were awarded. A master gardener, David Yarbrough, co-chaired our steering committee with a vision of a full-sun vacant lot. He recalled that process saying, “It was at times a stressful, unknown path, but I think a “Stronger Hand” than ours was guiding us.” Several VERY energetic volunteers with multiple skills also blessed our work.
Eden Community Gardens opened in 2018, with all the beds rented by church members and the community.
A Food Bank Garden, paved paths, a shed, a restroom, a fountain, compost bins, and signage were all eventually added. Our latest grants that were awarded include a gazebo and a greenhouse which are now being constructed.
The gazebo will shelter our gardeners and volunteers during break time on those hot summer days. It will also provide an outdoor setting for gardening classes and shade for our summer Eden Kid’s Garden Club.
The greenhouse will give us a convenient place to start seedlings for our Food Bank Garden. Last year we were able to donate to the local Food Banks over five-thousand pounds of produce.
Most of our raised beds are organic, and the ones that are not have high-quality soil and strict guidelines concerning fertilizers and pest controls.
Our mission statement at Covenant has the following headings “Education, Health & Wellness, Creation Care, and Compassion & Justice.” We are fulfilling a part of all of this with our Eden Community Gardens.
Please visit our website at edencommunitygardens.org if you would like to learn more about our community garden.
Sharon Arnold serves as secretary for the Eden Community Gardens and is a Certified Lay Minister assigned to Covenant United Methodist Church in Spokane, Washington.