St. Anne’s dream of creating an organic community garden became reality on Saturday, April 18, 2009. Over the course of seven hours that day, 32 friends, neighbors and members of St. Anne’s gathered on the “island in front of the church” and contributed time, talent and moral support to help us build and plant two raised garden beds and plant four in-ground bed (that had already been tilled and prepped) with nearly 40 varieties of vegetables and herbs. Our workers, who ranged in age from 4 to 74, included a master gardener, grandparents and grandchildren, neighbors, university students and members of St. Anne’s.
POTENTIAL OUTCOME(S) FOR PARTICIPANTS
For years, St. Anne’s has been trying to discern ways to involve our neighborhood with our parish. We believe a Community Peace Garden would help us greatly to build community with our neighbors. Thus, the purpose of our community peace project is to establish a Community Peace Garden with the following objectives:
1 the development of relationships with persons who live in the church’s diverse multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-socio-economic neighborhood through
2 the nurturing of soil, of plants and of spirits, for
3 the production of new friends, shared wisdom, good memories, appreciation of nature and, maybe in the end, for the production of something edible to share.
St. Anne’s Community Peace Garden is based on the premise that building a community of peace begins with each individual’s willingness to adapt nonviolence as a way of life. Nursing damaged ground, using organic methods and materials, sharing wisdom, and making friends all reflect a nonviolent approach to life. In addition, community gardening is a celebration of cultural diversity. Everyone uses inherited methods of planting whether learned from grandparents or from books. These differences can lead to cultural and inter-generational exchanges where we realize that in spite of our many differences, when we meet face-to face in our community garden, we have a tremendous amount in common. To that end, our St. Anne’s Community Peace Garden embodies Principle Two of Martin Luther King, Jr,’s Six Principles of Nonviolence: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM THIS TOOL: Individual participants, our parish as a whole, and the wider neighborhood and community were strengthened by this project as new relationships flowered and food was shared.
WHAT YOU MAY NEED IN THE WAY OF SUPPLIES
Equipment/labor to till and prep inground beds; nutrient-rich mulch, compost and soil to amend the damaged earth; materials to construct raised beds; purchased seeds and seedlings; hoses/water
COST ESTIMATE: $500
NUTS & BOLTS
Design: work on the community garden began early in the year when soil samples were sent out for analysis, the results of which confirmed that our soil was damaged and “nutrient-less.”The four in-ground beds were laid out in a cross formation, later reinforced by brick walking paths that run down the center of each bed. Master Gardener, Michael Rahman, helped us develop a plan for building two raised bed gardens.
Inviting the Neighbors: Flyers were distributed to all neighbors up and down Fairlawn Drive inviting them to an organizational meeting in the Parish Hall. The organizational meeting, which included neighbors, parishioners, and university students, was structured to solicit wisdom and advice as to what we should grow and the techniques we should use. Square-foot and lasagne gardening were selected as the preferred growing methods. The first workday of April 18th was scheduled. Signs were put up in the neighborhood advertising the day. A university student, with guidance from her professor, designed a beautiful garden logo.
Blessing the Garden: Approximately two weeks after the garden was planted, we had a blessing ceremony (using a garden hose).
FINAL OUTCOME: From April into October, volunteers from the parish and the neighborhood helped water, weed and nurture our garden, as well as share stories — and produce. We enjoyed getting to know our neighbors better over the summer months as we came together to maintain our garden in a spirit of peace and mutual understanding.· Since the vision of the garden first emerged, over 50 people have helped our garden grow from dream to reality.
Martha Murphy, Coordinator, St. Anne’s Community Peace Garden; Linda Winikoff, Convener, St. Anne’s EPF Chapter
St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, NC
SAMPLE FLYERS AND BLESSING CEREMONY AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. PLEASE SEND AN E-MAIL TO: firstname.lastname@example.org