BY PHOEBE LAKE
New Leaf Nursery
Two years ago several people stood looking at a bare plot of land behind a small church in Brenham TX. They had just attended a meeting of the Washington County Food Security Coalition. The meeting made clear the local need for fresh food. One of them, the Pastor, said out loud what they were all thinking. They could begin feeding people using the land they were looking at.
And so, the Galilee Garden, a ministry of Brenham Presbyterian Church, began. Ten raised beds were built, drip irrigation was installed, and a sign was placed on the white picket fence surrounding the garden. The sign on the fence explains that the garden is there to answer the call to help others.
A wide variety of vegetables is grown there-tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, okra and squash in the summer. Cool weather finds cabbage, kale, lettuce, and onions covering the garden beds. All vegetables are grown using organic methods, staying true to the commitment to grow good food for those in need.
All produce is distributed through Bread Partners, a local ministry. In the two years of the garden’s existence, over 4200 lbs. of produce has been donated. What’s even more exciting is that with intensive planting the garden is more than doubling its production this year!
But measuring this garden, or indeed any garden, by the weight of the produce is only part of the story.
A small group of volunteers (average age 66!) are the hands and heart of the garden-planting, watering, weeding, harvesting and most of all, enjoying each other’s company.
A local Girl Scout troop planted all the spring vegetables the first year. When more planting space was needed last year, a local Boy Scout troop filled 27 large planters with garden soil. Those planters now overflow with peppers and squash!
But others have invested in the garden as well. When an email went out explaining the need for new hand clippers, within a day five new pairs were donated!
Several people have shown up with cool drinks and cookies for the volunteers. Another friend of the garden donated an outdoor sink and another volunteer installed a faucet.
Several areas have been planted with flowers, to be cut and made into bouquets for those at home.
And so the gate to this small garden remains open, welcoming anyone to come in, sit on the bench and enjoy the peace found there, reminding us that even in these troublesome times, goodness continues.