Plant a Church Vegetable Garden
It is no secret that the first job given to humans was that of tending a garden. In his generosity, God deemed it good to let man and woman play a role in tending and stewarding God’s good creation. While we often think today of gardening as a mere hobby, it is increasingly being reclaimed as not only good work, but as a means of producing food.
While much can be said about the importance of churches encouraging their members to grow gardens at home, we will focus here on stewarding church property well with gardens.
Approaches to Planting a Vegetable Garden
- Develop a common garden. The space you have available will be most efficiently used by planting one commonly held garden that is planned together and tended by everyone.
- Dividing the land into parcels. If you are opting to let the neighborhood around your church building use the land, you might want to consider offering them individual parcels in which they can plant whatever they like. This can be especially helpful for those renting apartments, as they will not have any other land on which to plant a garden.
- Mix it up. If you’ve got enough space, you might want to opt for parceling out some of your property, while also maintaining a common garden. Those who receive an individual parcel can be asked to help tend the community garden in lieu of the rent that some community gardens charge. This is a great way to give people freedom, but also to ensure that the common garden will be cared for.
Ministry Benefits of a Vegetable Garden
- Producing abundant vegetables. This produce can be used to help feed the hungry people within your church or surrounding neighborhood, as ingredients for church potlucks and meals, or to help provide fresh vegetables to your neighbors if your church is located in an urban “food desert.”
- Helping the people of your church to understand that their faith impacts all of life. It is not unusual for many Christians to have the impression that their faith is primarily about “going to church” on Sunday morning, rather than “being the church” all week long. Planting and tending a common garden as an entire church provides ample opportunity to communicate that following Christ entails being concerned for the welfare of our neighbors, glorifying God in work and play, and stewarding the gifts that God has given us.
- Building community. Few things help people to develop relationships like working side by side in common labor. As people tend the garden together, they will be encouraged to engage in conversation and learn to love one another in a concrete way.
- Engaging lovingly with your non-Christian neighbors. Aside from offering fresh vegetables to your surrounding community, a church garden can be a great way to get to know your non-church neighbors. You can invite the people of the surrounding community to join in the work of the garden and can even offer them plots of their own on the property.
- Allow more church members to use their gifts. Too often, many Christians feel that there is no way to serve the rest of the church aside from teaching Sunday School, writing checks, or joining the choir. A church garden is just one of many ways to help church members with different gifts to serve the Body of Christ.
- Helping your church understand Scripture. It may be a small side-benefit, but the fact is that the Bible is full of agricultural language and context and many people in your congregation likely are not. Helping people to experience the annual cycle of growing food will help them to more fully understand much of Scripture.
Shareable’s Top Six How-tos for Growing Community with Food
How to Host A Garden Frolic (Garden Installation)
A Garden Plan for Food and Wildlife
Planting Gardens in Prison: Why We Labor for Shalom Now (This is Our City)
Community Gardens: Churches Find Their Local Mission