Since 2010, beginning with the spring growing season, Ward Street Mission United Methodist Church has implemented a concept called, “House Gardens Greening Project”. The concept is simple. Instead of having a “community garden” at one site at the church, we have created a “community of gardens” at individual homes around the Ward Street Mission Community.
We deliver 4x8ft raised bed gardens, build them on site, fill them with compost donated by the City of High Point, and give each family seeds or plants to fill their garden. Then we keep up with them throughout the growing season to help them tend, grow, maintain and harvest their gardens.
We have a website, www.hggp.org, where people can go online and fill out an application or print off an application to mail in to apply for a garden. We have two levels of gardeners. One is a paid garden and the other is a scholarship program. If families meet the Census Poverty guidelines, they can get a garden for $50.
Since our beginning, we have delivered approximately 300 gardens. Of these, two-thirds are scholarship gardens. We receive donations from area churches and individuals to also help in our costs. We also have a training garden located at Ward Street Mission where people can come and learn how to plant, tend and harvest vegetables. We give the excess produce away to people in the community.
In 2012, we did a project with the Boys and Girls Club housed on the third floor of our church. The children were put in teams of two and given a 4x4ft section and seeds and grew vegetables to take home to their families.
Any church can do this. In March and April this year, we partnered with Rankin Memorial United Methodist Church in High Point and helped them install twenty 4x8ft raised bed gardens on their church property that they are letting families surrounding their church tend and harvest. We bring in youth groups from other churches for a weekend mission trip where they install gardens and learn how House Gardens Greening Project works and can work in their community.
The PHW mini-grant will be used to further our project in our community by funding more gardens that can be delivered.
The success story above was submitted by Jeff Moran, PHW Liaison at Ward Street Mission United Methodist Church in High Point, where Rev. Anne Elmore serves as pastor. As Jeff so eloquently stated, ANY congregation can do this work – i.e., contribute to the health of their community by providing increased access to healthy, local foods. If you’d like to get involved, please visit the PHW website at www.healthandwholeness.org.
– Willona Stallings, PHW Program Coordinator