Thursday, August 11, 2011

Unity Garden at Zion Story

I am often asked why I am so committed to the Unity Gardens, what keeps it fresh and exciting.  During the heat of the summer, when things are tugging at me in all directions, growing food, presenting the story, answering e-mails, pursuing funding, I even ask myself that question!  Then, when I get too hot, too tired, or a bit discouraged, one of the garden leaders, volunteers, or harvesters will share a story that helps renew my commitment, reminding me that "we can't afford not to" share and teach people how to care for their health through fresh produce. 

 All Unity Gardens have struggles, especially first year Unity Gardens.  The Unity Garden at Zion had transitions in garden leaders last year and had less community involvement than desired.  The produce was mostly donated to a nearby food pantry.  People within the congregation and neighborhood liked the idea of Unity Gardens, but did not fully understand the connection with the greater community. The garden was one of the last planted.

This year was different!  The congregation asked for a Unity Presentation early in the year.  With the enthusiasm of the entire congregation, and strong leadership of an avid gardener, the garden has been a symbol of all that Unity Gardens represents!  I am proud to share the following e-mail that Helen Giglio, the garden leader at the Unity Garden at Zion, just forwarded me the following e-mail.  Thanks to all my Unity Garden heroes, like Helen for growing more than vegetables here!   Sara
Unity Garden at Zion

Dear Sara and Mitch, Sorry I was not out at the big garden this AM...I did something dumb to my knee Monday so I am trying not to overdo.  I wanted to share something wonderful.  I was out at the Zion garden Monday and a mom with a baby in a stroller and an older daughter walked by, I invited them to come in and pick some tomatoes and gave them a bag...they picked a bunch of stuff as another lady strolled over, I gave her a bag and she picked tomatoes, peppers and squash, and then a car drove up, a couple came out with bag in hand and got some green tomatoes, peppers and collards. So, neighbors have been watching the garden and are ready to pick fresh food.  I have some bags and a plastic sharing shelf ready to take over today!  Helen

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