The intention of the UCOH Community Garden is to create a loving community gathering space where congregants and individuals can experience organic sustainable gardening practices as well as access fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and other forms of garden variety foods.
But how does a community garden get started? “It grew from a shared consciousness”, says Kim Grimes. There had been talk around the church for some time about how wonderful using some of the beautiful grounds around UCOH for a community garden would be. Frank Phelan agrees, but states that “It was Kelly Logue that made it happen”. Kelly shares that “Gardening has gotten me through so much in my life, and I just wanted to share that value with others.”
The steps were put in place, a survey to assess church community interest was undertaken, and a plant sale in April 2019 helped to raise some initial funds for the garden. The board approved the building of a small plot garden but Kelly, along with Amy Keillor, were willing to give of their time, knowledge, and financial resources to build the beautiful garden as it is today. They even included electrical and an irrigation system.
A team of dedicated volunteers came out weekend after weekend to remove the multitude of rocks from the ground, plant the post poles, create the garden walls, spread the soil, and generally create a magical space. Not all of the volunteers were there though to perform the heavy labor. A number of the volunteers came to support the workers. Bountiful presentations of food were brought. Kelly even supplied a snow cone machine one weekend. That feeling of returning to childhood was fun for all. Amy describes how another group painted and decorated the picnic tables. The atmosphere of community was definitely there from the very start.
The aspect of community in the garden extends to the Boy Scouts as well. Two Eagle Scout projects have helped with garden beautification. These include creation of the garden gate and of the pathway to the garden. A third Eagle Scout project is in the works this fall to expand the garden past its present size. Thanks Scouts!
Frank shares “The board has supported Kelly and the garden each step of the way during its creation and continues to support the garden today. A line item for the garden has been created in the church budget to assure the necessary resources are available to maintain the garden. The love offerings collected in the Bookstore from the gardens bountiful harvest is also helping to sustain the garden.”
A UCOH Garden Team has now been established to assist with maintenance and growth of this incredible space. Dez King’s role has expanded from a key member of the garden initial building labor team to Garden Operations Manager. There are also subcommittees of Garden Planning, Volunteers, Education, and Marketing and Events. There is always opportunity for more people to join in supporting the maintenance of our garden. You can contact Kathy Vallefuoco at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-699-3753 to join our garden community.
The gifts of the garden continue to grow and multiply. When you plant a seed, experience its growth, see the beauty it brings forth every day; that fortifies our own connection to nature. When we share that connection with others in fellowship it further serves to strengthen our community, solidifying our oneness with each other and the universe. That is the gift and the gratefulness we have for our UCOH Community Garden.