Lee’s Summit church grows veggies and goodwill

rpulley@lsjournal.comAugust 16, 2013 

  • 1,700 pounds of produce donated last year

The families of Lee’s Summit Christian Church are among many people joining the community garden movement.

The sign on their garden’s fence, “The Welcome Garden” gives a hint to its purpose.

One entry arch is festooned with blooms, the other with birdhouse squash, to provide children with a fall project.

Inside there are individual raised beds for families, and a large communal plot where they raise food for low-income families which is distributed to Lee’s Summit Social Services, Coldwater and to shut-in members of the church.

The project is to help promote community service and build relationships for the church at Missouri 291 and Tudor Road.

The idea originated with the church’s “Green Team,” which deals with environmental issues and “caring for creation,” said Jennifer Parson, youth pastor.

The project is to help promote community service and build relationships.

Some core workers are Lori Finley, the garden’s manager, Priscilla Young, Charlotte Skeens, Lois Belser and a couple, Max and Charlie Austin.

There’s weeding, watering and harvesting.

“It’s a big job, it’s a lot of work,” said Parson, as she clipped some basil for her table.

Finley said the garden was first planted last year.

It delivered 1,700 pounds to LSSS last year, but decided this year to broaden giving to other agencies.

So far, the garden has produced about 300 pounds, due to a late spring that has cut down on production. But because they’ve tripled the number of sweet potatoes planted and the crops of fall vegetables like beets and turnips look good, they hope to equal last year’s effort, Finley said.

The food stuff is appreciated.

“When we give our clients a bag of fresh vegetables with their other food, they can’t believe someone took the time and work to grow all of this just for them,” said Geneva High, director of LSSS. “They immediately start telling us what they will fix for dinner. This fresh food has also helped stretch their food budget.”

The church has communal herb garden for everyone to cut a few spices for their own table, and the rest goes to low-income families.

Lori Finley, who manages the garden, “We’re trying to get people back to working with the earth, a more direct way of working with creation.”

Its dual purpose is to provide healthy food to people who don’t have a place to raise their own and can’t afford to buy it.

Church members using raised beds are committed to donating their surplus to the social service agencies and help care for communal plots dedicated to helping low-income families, Finley said.

The garden has a variety of produce, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, carrots, squash, and so on.

This year Boy Scouts added eight raised beds as an Eagle project, bringing the total to 15 available for individuals. One is reserved for a communal herb garden. It also added a new bed for berries, which is thriving.

“We’re excited that next year we’ll have a huge crop of strawberries,” Finley said.

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