In spring of 2014 St. Johnís Vestry approved Martha Zimmermanís proposal to develop a Community Garden to increase the availability of fresh produce for the Martha T. Simmons Food Pantry.
During the first year, the garden volunteers were able to produce over 700 pounds of vegetables. In 2015, production was increased to over 1000 pounds and the decision was made to implement a Bio Intensive method with 4-foot walkways which would accommodate persons with disabilities.In an effort to make the garden as organic as possible, the garden was mulched with leaves from the city of Marion and cow manure from a local farm over the winter to help amend the soil.
In 2016 a garden was added at Brackett Town Farms for radishes, beets, onions, and potatoes. With additional volunteers to dig potatoes,production was increased to over 1200 pounds.For the past two years, the gardeners have developed a compost pile with leaves and garden plants after their session. Any fruits and vegetables not used by the food pantry and non-human consumables are donated to the local pig farmer.
Since the garden began, Ole Turtle Farm has donated flats of top quality organic starter vegetables. At the end of the season, Painterís Greenhouse has donated flats of vegetables, herbs and flowers not only to St. Johnís Garden, but all the community gardens in the region. Bannerís Greenhouse donated flats of cool weather vegetable plants, tomatoes and peppers for several years as their over flow of plants became available. With all these plants, the gardeners were able to clean out and update the herb garden, moved blueberry bushes and created a lavender bed.
At the close of the growing season 2017, over a thousand pounds of vegetables were also gleaned from Ermaís Produce and LNJ Farms. In addition, St. Johnís receives donations from local residentsí personal gardens. The garden committee continues to evaluate the most effective design and rearranges beds to facilitate the labor as well as optimizing volume. Recently a Human Hurt and Hope grant from the Diocese has funded the blocked crosswalk through the garden, making the garden accessible to many regardless of the weather.
In spring of 2018, the garden committee began offering McDowell Technical Community College GED, English as a Second Language and Adult Basic Education students agricultural education sessions in the St. Johnís Community Garden.The current project for the summer of 2018, funded by a Human Hurt and Hope grant, is the acquisition and installation of a permanent watering system.
If interested, contact us: 828-652-4144