Neverfail Community Demonstration Garden - our garden will fit in with our 'Healthy Community' ministries in teaching, through demonstration, that at least a portion of a family's food needs can be grown by the family on their own property. As the 'Healthy Community Center' building is completed, safe canning instruction will be given there. Later, we hope to build a building dedicated to being a community canning kitchen.
A ¼ acre site in a very high visibility area of our campus has been set aside for a vegetable garden. The primary purpose in our garden work is to generate interest and teach skills related to small scale food production within the young adults in our neighborhood. 30 years ago almost every household in our community had vegetable gardens and were experienced in canning, freezing and other forms of crop storage. Today there are very few gardening families, especially among the young adults with young children. Our hope is that young families will be inspired and equipped to begin even the smallest of scale gardens in their own yards which might be the beginning of lifestyle changes that should improve their physical health through the exercises and a better diet and their financial well-being through cost effectiveness of growing and preserving a portion of their food needs and the possibility of some un-employed and under-employed family members being able to generate a seasonal cash flow in the sale of surplus produce. Secondary benefits should be improved self and family discipline as they learn the responsibilities and demands of garden tending and benefits to the community by increasing the inter-connectivity of families through the common garden experiences.
2008 is the 3rd season for Neverfail’s Community Garden. All the produce grown has been distributed to families in need in our community. 2008 is the first season that we have been invited to create a satellite garden site at a neighbor’s home. This whole family participated with us through the entire 2007 season in working and learning. Although we were not able to get the ground broken for their home garden last fall, we will be starting a small late spring garden of maybe 600 square feet for their first year’s home experience. We expect to partner with this family through at least two-three full seasons. Our hope would be to add one satellite garden each season.
It is important for us to be able to transition to a form of garden practice and management that will be as low cost as possible in order to be practical for low income families. Therefore we intend to be careful to recycle garden and harvest wastes through composting and importing ag-wastes from nearby farms (manure) for plant nutrients and soil improvements that will assist in moisture retention. Companion planting, crop rotation, and low impact pest protection are all issues that we intend to practice and teach.
A future project is to build a simple and easy to use and maintain facility for use as a community canning kitchen. A safely equipped and carefully supervised community kitchen will reduce the canning risks that could be encountered in home canning attempts by inexperienced or poorly equipped families.
Our 2006 and 2007 gardens have been funded in part with "Tennessee Partners in Missions Offering" funds provided by the Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. (see pictures of the 2007 Garden)
The garden has required much sweat and labor but also much prayer. While we have been careful to fertilize and control weeds and pests in responsible ways, we have also consistently prayed for God's blessing and watch care over the garden. We have prayed that God would protect our crops from destruction by bugs, deer, too much rain/wind, not enough rain, etc. etc. We have asked God to whisper His Words of Life over the garden and to provide us with a harvest for our neighbors. Above all, we have prayed that God would bless us with a harvest OF community in the process. God has answered all of our prayers with remarkably little trouble with deer, raccoons, insects, blights, mildews, etc; No wind or rain damage; Sufficient rain fall in due seasons; time and strength to deal with the abundance of healthy weeds that have grown along side of our crops; and many wonderful opportunities to bless people in our community with fresh produce from harvest. In addition we have received much encouragement from neighbors passing by, curiously observing our efforts. Our ministry of community is truly bearing fruit as well.
You can click on some of these pictures below to see an enlargement.
Pictures of Neverfail's Community Demonstration Garden taken May 13, 2006
Pictures of Neverfail's Community Demonstration Garden taken June 16, 2006
Pictures of Neverfail' Community Demonstration Garden taken July 24, 2006
Below are pictures taken August 7th:
The garden is ready for it's last planting: Turnip greens and it's 1st cover crop for winter. Pastor Eliot finishes tilling for the Turnip greens.
HARVEST ! ! ! Banana peppers. Green Beans (Roma II's on their 7th picking!) Field corn for making corn meal still growing.
Here's an ear of corn or two. Tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes. Watermelons are huge, but not yet ripe.