As an act of worship on Sunday, May 6th, we blessed our “Garden of Eatin’ and prayed for all who are hungry and go without substance. This ministry has turned out to be a rather remarkable outreach opportunity for the congregation with many neighbors who pass by offering a sincere sense of gratitude and appreciation for our efforts.
“It actually looks like someone cares,” quoting a neighbor who walked by.
The entire harvest is taken to the local food pantry for distribution. The pantry manager informs us that nothing is ever left from our vegetable donation at the end of the day. Most people take the variety of vegetables that contribute.
Crops selected are based on the market at the food pantry. We have three types of lettuce, beans, several varieties of peppers, many varieties of tomatoes, kale, carrots, onions, radishes.
Rogation Sunday is an ancient Christian observance dating back to around 470A.D. in which farmers blessed the fields and crops for feeding.
Rogation Sunday has an interesting history in the life of the Church. It started as a Roman pagan ritual in which a dog was sacrificed as an offering for the blessing of the crops.
Instead of offering up a dog as a sacrifice, Zion Lutheran Church dedicated our Community Vegetable Garden, “The Garden of Eatin’” on Rogation Sunday (April 23, 2017).
The harvested produce is given to the Muscatine Community Food Pantry and is distributed to those who come to the pantry as a way to encourage healthy eating and an easy way to gain access to fresh produce.
The garden ministry was launched in 2016 when we received a grant from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America World Hunger program. The grant was used to purchase seeds, wood and supplies to build garden boxes, as well as to offset the cost of water and other needed accessories.
Varieties of vegetables in this year’s garden include carrots, lettuce, kail, onions, green beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, and tomatoes.
Children were welcomed by “Peter” Rabbit who eats carrots.
Vicar Kyle prepares the liturgy of blessing for the garden
A fun way to remember the importance of food for all God’s creatures!
A great way to celebrate the nice spring weather!
We are planning to build a fence on the property and will include small boxes on the wall for herb gardens.
This has been a blessing to our congregation as our neighbors enjoy visiting with us about the garden and engage us in conversation about our ministry in Muscatine.
The garden is one of many ministries through our Social Ministry Committee and is cared for by different families rotating throughout the summer who volunteer to pull weeds, harvest the produce, and water the crops.
Two of my daughters watering the flowers at Zion Lutheran’s “Garden of Eatin’ “
In the summer of 2015, I applied for a domestic hunger grant through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to start a community garden to provide our neighbors and local food pantry with access to fresh locally-sourced produce.
Our congregation, Zion Lutheran Church, received $1,000 from the grant application and subsequent work began through our Social Ministry committee.
On Earth Day weekend, in April 2016 , we dedicated the “Garden of Eatin’ ” to the Glory of God as an act of worship and the garden was off and running!
“Garden of Eatin’ ” dedication on Earth Day weekend in April 2016.
Towards the end of June 2016, the garden has produced about 80 pounds of fresh vegetables that have been given to the Muscatine Community Food Pantry and a few produce has gone to our immediate neighbors.
Vegetables include: broccoli, carrots, beets, romaine lettuce, green lettuce, two types of onions, tomatoes, two varieties of kale, green peppers, beets, and red cabbage.
The Garden of Eatin’ Ministry has really taken on a life of it’s own (no pun intended) and gotten lots of inquires from our neighbors and folks in the community.
This is the kind of project that required the work of the entire congregation (and even our neighbors have graciously allowed us to use some of their water). Some one from the congregation came up with the name for the garden, a member who happens to be a farmer donated soil, another designed the garden boxes, a couple of folks planted the crops, another the sign, and then each week, one family unit signs-up to steward the garden for a week.
The week of June 26-July 2nd is my family’s week to serve. We had a great time working together in the garden and getting our hand’s dirty serving up a wonderful harvest!