Glory Community Garden
DescriptionThis outreach ministry is located on 2 residential lots owned by Barnett Chapel United Methodist Church in Kerrville TX. Desiring to address food insecurity in the neighborhood as well as other health and social challenges, the mission “continues to build its legacy of producing healthy food, collaboration, and building community through the knowledge and skills of gardening to the Glory of God.” Its founding and growth have been nothing short of miraculous – with a plan but no funding, volunteers from several local organizations and businesses were attracted to the project and began to donate their time, skills, and materials. As the word spread water lines were installed, a protective deer fence was erected, and 32 raised beds were constructed. Glory Gardeners with varying levels of skill enthusiastically got to work. With guidance from experienced gardeners and the local Master Gardeners organization, the first crops came in! Next came a storage facility for tools and supplies, and then a grand pavilion with picnic tables and multi-purpose space. Then an amazing trend started…local people who weren’t interested in gardening themselves just enjoyed hanging out in the garden. Now community was truly being built! After a while the City took notice of the free public celebrations with music and burgers, as well as the neglected condition of the surrounding neighborhood – and change began to happen. This garden was the catalyst for major community renewal. And how about the gardeners? One man had serious health problems, partly because he wasn’t eating a healthy fresh diet – he had moved to town and didn’t have a place to garden for his own food as he had at his previous residence. Despite a major language barrier, he joined; and growing and eating his own food improved his health! A single rose bush that he planted for his wife’s enjoyment bloomed for the first time on the day she came to visit, which makes for quite a sweet love story, too. The local community health nurse noticed one of the gardener’s crops weren’t being watered or harvested. When she inquired of the gardener’s daughter, she learned the mom hadn’t been feeling well. It turned out she had been without electricity for a couple of days due to storms, and her doctor hadn’t returned her call about whether or not to use her insulin…so she stopped taking it, and her blood sugar was out of control. The nurse gave her guidance, and within a few days the gardener was back harvesting her crops. She was very excited because she, who regularly depended on food ministries for her own food, now had more than enough for herself and planned to share her harvest with her neighbors! Local schools and camps are welcome to reserve time for field trips with learning stations. At five free public events each year, the Garden serves up food and toe-tapping music…and intentionally invites community partners including members of the police and fire departments, a local pet rescue group that performs free micro-chipping, and a wide array of hands-on medical and educational organizations– all to improve health, foster community collaboration, and share the love of God.
Story contributed by Pam U