St. Stephen’s as a Food Oasis
A lot has been written recently in both print and electronic media about “food deserts” – areas where people do not have ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables, either because of poverty, lack of transportation or lack of suppliers. For a number of years there has been a significant network of gardens in downtown Erie supplying fresh produce to the downtown food pantries and soup kitchens. The concept of “urban farming” is gaining steam downtown. This urban farming movement has produced some amazing results in other parts of the country.
Here in the west county many people have their own gardens, and many more are able to afford fresh produce from farm stands and grocery stores. However, fresh produce is still out of reach for a portion of the population in the west county; a population that relies in part or in whole on food pantries.
This is where our congregation steps in. With an abundance of land and sunshine, an outreach grant from our Diocese, and a healthy dose of physical labor, the Glory of God Garden was built and planted last summer. Our mission is to grow fresh produce for distribution by the local food pantries. We raised several hundred pounds of produce last summer and learned a lot in the process. Our contributions were well received by food pantries in Fairview, Girard, and the Second Harvest Food Bank. The food pantry director at Fairview Presbyterian Church told us that clients began to arrive early for distributions so as to be able to receive fresh produce before the supply ran out.
We welcome everyone to join us in the garden – regardless of age or experience. Specific needs are:
- Plant seeds and seedlings in May and June – dates to be determined
- Water – This is a rotating schedule so that a person waters only once every week to two weeks
- Weed and harvest – We will have scheduled sessions on Wed. and Sun. evenings, but weeding can be done any time
- Delivery of produce – once a month to Fairview Presbyterian and New Beginnings Church Food pantries; other weeks to Second Harvest Food Bank