Thursday, June 9, 2011

God’s Gardeners Meet to Prepare for August 20 Kick Off Event

[Editor's Note: The Gala has been moved from August 20 to September 10, 2011]

On Tuesday, a group of about 24 God’s Gardeners met at Christ Lutheran Church in Bexley to discuss efforts to create and support 200 new church-supported community gardens in Central Ohio for the 2012 bicentennial of Columbus next year. I floated between this meeting and my monthly Knitwits group and so have incomplete information to report. Peggy provided fresh fruit and a chocolate ice cream cake from the Bexley Graeters and I supplied 1.5 quarts of fresh strawberries I picked on Friday.

Bill Dawson, Coordinator of Franklin Park Conservatory’s Growing to Green Program, attended to explain what he, the twelve FPC hub gardens and FPC could do to support new and existing community gardens. He discussed the Chase Garden Academy which offers workshops to help community garden leaders. He needs every community garden to complete a survey of needs so that he can match them up with available resources as they become available. He is also available to consult. FPC is establishing twelve hub gardens in Central Ohio to also act as a mentoring resource for Central Ohio community gardens. The hub gardens can share ideas, resources and training. Representatives from four hub gardens were present:

Marge Telerski *Christ the King Catholic Church * *(614) 237-0720
Peggy Murphy *Highland Garden / Church Collaboration * *(614) 260-5767
Susannah Evans *Epworth United Methodist Church * *(614) 578-0171
Moi *Christ Lutheran Church / Stoddart Avenue * *

Bill also announced that FPC is working on putting together an educational event on July 15 featuring Will Allen from Growing Power. Details to follow. The annual Growing to Green Awards ceremony will be on August 25 at the community garden campus at FPC. The ceremony follows a community potluck tent dinner. Gardens may nominate themselves for the awards (which come with financial prizes). Then Bill had to flee to the airport to fly off to another exotic location, undoubtedly to assist them with starting another community garden.

Attendees took turns reporting the activities of their community gardens or desires to start one. Attendees could discuss ideas and offer tangible and emotional support.

Peggy Murphy had a great story about Highland-Hilltop Garden. She reported that they had sought a $4K grant from the City this year to establish a drip irrigation system. They only received $600, but then a check for $2,100 suddenly appeared from a Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania and they were able to install their new irrigation system. Their garden is collaboration of a number of different churches. The Presbyterian Church in Louisville provided the substantial amount of grant funding. The Garden is located on land owned by the Baptist Church. The Lutheran Church acts as their 501(c)(3) fiscal agent (to administer grants) and the Methodist Church supplies their water.

Peggy also reported that Stader’s Nursery AGAIN is donating more flats of flowers and vegetables. They may be picked up before 1 p.m. TODAY from Highland-Hilltop garden.

Advent United Church of Christ on North Cassady Avenue is having a fish fry this Saturday. Dr. Larkins from Dayton will be making a presentation on building a community through community gardens.

Another church was gathering 30 nearby churches on Saturday to work on building a community garden program.

Wendy Finch McCusker related plans for the giant God’s Gardener’s kick off gala for August 20 at Highland-Hilltop community garden. It sounds very entertaining.

The next meeting of God’s Gardeners will be on Tuesday July 19th 6:30pm to 8:30pm Christian Assembly 4099 Karl Road 43224 Entrance B.

If you want more information about God’s Gardners, please contact Wendy Finch McCusker at or Peggy Murphy.

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