Going green · Inspiration · Life Changes

A Big Announcement!

No, I’m not pregnant; I know that’s what you were thinking! You’ll have to look to someone else for that kind of news and excitement at the moment… and now that I’m thinking of pregnancy I feel quite nauseous. Blech.  Ok, back to my news. Remember how I’ve been doing my own experiment in “self reduction” {mimicking Jen Hatmaker’s project 7}? And remember how I spent the first month {which turned into 2 months} ridding myself of 7 possessions every day? In my post a few weeks ago I shared that I was praying about clear direction for what to do with the money I gained by selling off all those excess possessions.

The answer God gave me? A community garden.

Now I’ll be the first to admit my reaction was definitely not ‘woohoo’, more like ‘um, no thanks’. I’m not exactly a master gardener. Even my weeds die. I don’t really know much about gardening, and definitely very little about growing anything edible. I feel like the least qualified person on earth to start a project of this magnitude. Believe me, I have more questions than answers at this point, but there’s something I’ve been learning about God lately: He’s God. And guess what? I’m not.  There, I said it. My life’s purpose  {and your’s too, but I’m trying not to be bossy} is to be a tangible example, a simple replication, to others of the love Jesus has for us {does that make any sense at all?}. Of course, there’s no way my itty bitty selfish heart can possibly love another human the way God loves me, but that’s beside the point. I believe my life has purpose when I live it unselfishly. Which is difficult, since we are hardwired to be selfish… you know that’s right {I just channeled Burton ‘Gus’ Guster from Psych, in case you didn’t go there with me. You have my permission to read it again with that inflection}. Let’s say you’re in the same boat as me and have decided you want to live a life that’s focused outwardly, a life that’s purpose is to help others, give to others, and love others. Congratulations! Now what? Where do we start? Living out our life’s purpose will look different for all of us. We can all give in the same way or act the same way… that won’t really be productive. I’ve been reading a great book by Jennie Allen called Restless. I’m going to try hard to not plagiarize her work, so just know these are direct quotes from the book (they come from Ch. 5, but I don’t know what page!):

If you’re showing God to the world in whatever job you’re doing, you’re on the right track. So don’t bother waiting around for a unique voice to come out of the sky. We move, respond, love, and obey. And as we go, God leads…

‘Give to everyone who asks you’ (Luke 6:30). We are called to care for the things we see right in front of us, and anything else we can touch as well, regardless of our wiring and stories. As we live out our callings, we respond to need no matter what.

move, respond, love, obey. respond to need, no matter what. I kinda have no other choice but to throw my doubts and fears out the window. just respond. just act. just continue taking steps forward to live a life of love; not loving myself more than others. I’m starting to see that I don’t have to know all the answers or know each step of my life before I take it. That’s where faith comes in, and I never truly experienced it until recently. I’m going to be blunt here, it’s not ‘ok’ for us to ignore the needs we see {or don’t always see} around us simply because we aren’t sure how to help, or because we feel like we don’t have enough money, enough time, enough skill. The things I’ve said above may offend you. Please know that’s not my intention, I’m simply writing from my heart. If my words do offend you, though, I have a suspicion that it might be because a portion {or all} of it rings true deep down. I was in the same place just a few years ago. Just keep taking steps forward.

That was quite a long rabbit trail, so back to the garden. God has blessed our church with a beautiful piece of land. There’s currently a pavilion for hosting events, but the rest of the land has remained untouched and minimally used over the years. We currently rent space from a church in South Norfolk where we meet on Sundays; and the property just sits. and waits. waits for a building to be built… or whatever its purpose may be. For the past year I have felt a burden regarding this land. Each time it came to the forefront of my mind I would dismiss it with a simple, somewhat valid excuse: I don’t know what to do with it! Then a small thought for a garden was planted {ha, so punny} in my mind that I couldn’t shake. Then it wasn’t simply that I didn’t know what the land could be used for, it was that I didn’t want to take responsibility for knowing what the land could be used for. I didn’t want to be the one to take on this project. Like I said, I don’t know veggies, or flowers, or business. But God put people and authors into my life to help show me my next steps. move, respond, love, obey. respond to need, no matter what.  Start a garden. ok.

I registered an email, a website, a Facebook page. I submitted a proposal, designed the plot size, researched water sources and garden needs. I started seeds, scavenged wood scraps, became an official composter. All this happened in about 3 weeks.  I guess you could say I jumped right in. I really had no other choice… planting time is right around the corner {or so I read during day 1 of my research}… that really lit a fire under me.

Here is a quick rundown of our plan:

  • Rent garden plots to gardeners in exchange for a donation to the garden.
  • Host a farmer’s market on Saturdays during the summer months
  • Organize volunteer-tended plot(s) to help supply local food pantries and families with fresh produce

It is going to be awesome! The problem? Right now the ‘garden’ is a big field of dirt.

My vision {this is a picture of an individual plot for a gardener to use, there will hopefully be rows and rows of these!}
Organic-Vegetable-Garden

The portion of our land reserved for the garden:

2014-03-24 14.59.13

As you can see, a lot needs to be done before gardening can begin; I need:

  • rows plowed {happening this week!}
  • plot markers made
  • rain barrels built and made to not look hideous {in the works, but still need help}
  • eventually a well water pump placed {which costs $$$}
  • compost and mulch corrals built {out of pallets}
  • trash/recycle bins grounded so they won’t be blown away
  • signs advertising this opportunity around the city of Chesapeake

There is still a lot of work to be done. Wondering how you might be able to help?

Step 1: See which of the categories you fit into below

  • Is gardening your thing? Would you consider being a part of my garden committee? Lending advice, gardening know-how, and brain power to help this garden succeed? Remember, I’m pretty much learning gardening and business as I go. I could use all the help I can get.
  • Is there something you can donate? Do you have cinder blocks, wooden pallets, a wheelbarrow, shovels, gardening supplies, trash cans, compost, mulch, or building materials that you aren’t using that you would consider donating?
  • Do you or do you know someone who would love to sell their product/produce at our farmer’s market?

Step 2: Make a donation and start tending a plot.

  • Gather your neighbors and work one together if you aren’t sure you can tend it alone.
  • Start one with your small group/community group at church for some added bonding time; discuss the opportunity to donate the harvest to families in need {this is what I will be proposing to our community group!}
  • Just try it on your own. There’s not a lot to lose {even if you’re a ‘newbie’ gardener}, but plenty to gain. mmmmm…… fresh tomatoes.

Step 3: Help spread the word.

  • Would you consider sharing the website and Facebook page with family and friends?
  • Are you good at making signs? Or do you know of a great location for me to place a sign or flyer?

Our Website

Our Facebook Page

Questions or feedback? I’d love to hear them!

I have absolutely no shame in saying we need all the help we can get! If you can’t help in one of the above ways, consider donating or simply praying. Pray for the garden, for our church, for me. I am 100% stepping out of my element in obedience. I know God is behind this project. I don’t know why he chose me but I’m not going to be the one to say no to God.

4 thoughts on “A Big Announcement!

  1. What an awesome thing to do! Interesting especially as I just got my own garden plot here in London (where ‘land’ is very scarce so I’m over the moon!) but wondering where to start especially as you say, its planting season (panic!). Currently reading ‘The Allotment Handbook’ (which I’ll be blogging about soon) & furiously digging away! Looking forward to following your adventures (and getting some much needed tips). I think its a wonderful idea to give away the harvest too to those in need, that’s an idea I shall take on board too, thank you. In my prayers as you take on this huge project that will no doubt bless many out there! P.S. Love your self-reduction mission too – I’m glued there too as I am drowning in ‘stuff’!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement! All I can say is thank goodness for Pinterest, that’s where I’ve been getting all of my ‘gardening 101’ tips 🙂 Good luck to you!

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