Lake Erie Presbytery, CLC – Bold New Initiative Grant Report 2017
Garden of Edin Community Garden, First United Presbyterian Church of Edinboro
Mission Statement: The Garden of Edin Community Garden provides a place for gardening education, community gathering and sharing, and nourishment for body and spirit.
Overview of the Garden of Edin: Thanks to generous funds from the Bold New Initiative Grant from the Presbytery of Lake Erie, the Garden of Edin Community Garden has been able to complete three bold, new ideas.
In 2015, the garden doubled its capacity of raised garden beds to 40, 4’ X 8’ beds.
In 2016, more growing space was created by adding 40, 1’ X 6’ raised trellis beds along the fence for vertical crops. In addition, construction was completed for two sections of the Meditation Garden (Contemplative Garden). The Garden of Edin is now able to serve more members of our community, provide them with additional growing space, and welcome all into a quiet space of well being in the Meditation Garden.
Each year the number of beds set aside as “tithe beds” for the Edinboro Food Pantry has grown in number and productivity; from three beds in 2015, to five beds in 2016, to six beds in 2017. Those growing “tithe” beds measured their donations in numbers of grocery bags, which totaled about 75 bags this season! We have purchased a scale to more accurately measure the Garden of Edin’s abundance in 2018. We actively encourage all gardeners to donate their excess harvest to the Food Pantry. Many do. The Edinboro community members gardening together represent a wide range of socio-economic, age, abilities, and faiths.
What has been accomplished in 2016-2017?
In the winter of 2017 funds from the Bold New Initiative Grant were used to purchase hemlock lumber for 40 new 1’ X 6’ raised trellis beds along the inside garden fence. The fence provides support for vining crops so that our gardeners do not need to build their own structures of support. These beds were filled with a topsoil / mushroom compost mix, providing an additional six square feet of growing space for each gardener. These beds were constructed over the winter by youth in the Hermitage House Youth Services L.E.A.P (Learn, Earn and Payback) program. (see photo of trellis bed)
Over the 2017 summer months Serenity Circle was built entirely by the youth in the Hermitage House Youth Services L.E.A.P (Learn, Earn and Payback) program. We have been partnering with HHYS in Cambridge Springs since the summer of 2016. Under the direction of the L.E.A.P. councilor, these young men learned carpentry skills, team work, and a sense of community involvement. They even gave this space its name. A unique and calming solar water feature dominates the center of Serenity Circle.
The Pergola was modified from the initial complex design, but still presented too great a challenge for volunteers, so the Garden of Edin Leadership Team decided to hire a retired carpenter and two assistants to build this 12’ tall structure. The pergola was built over two days in October and is being kept level with support posts over the winter months. Fast growing vines will be planted in the Spring around the poles to grow shade over the pergola.
To finish both of these beautiful spaces Boy Scout, Franklin May is currently building three large benches and three Aldo Leopold chairs to provide seating in both the Serenity Circle and under the Pergola. This will earn him the rank of Eagle Scout.
When the plantings and benches are completed in the spring of 2018, the Meditation Garden will offer “green” shade under a large pergola, six benches for seating, and a quiet, walled space for reflection. It can be entered by two gates from the Community Garden. Pastor Matt Falco was invaluable in designing this meditative space.
Analysis of the Project to date:
2017 Gardener Quotes: In what ways do you think your life is better because of this Garden? “Peace, purpose, beauty”, “My life has been enriched physically (veggies), mentally (new info, new friends) and spiritually (peace and solitude).” “Fresh produce I grow is emotionally satisfying.” “The kids gained an appreciation of what it takes to grow food and pride in seeing what their efforts produced.” “I’m able to eat more fresh vegetables than I would otherwise, as I live in an apartment.“ “It has made me more mobile and I feel better.” “The Garden has made a strong positive impact on our community.”
As a community outreach of our church, the Garden of Edin has truly become “sacred ground.” I have been drawn into many faith conversations amid the vegetable beds. Gardeners have shared with me stories of dark times, struggling through cancer treatments and marriage problems. They have also shared life’s high points with me, telling a fantastic story of a life-long friendship and introducing me to a much desired, long-awaited baby.
Prayers for and financial support of the Garden of Edin have extended God’s love and abundance beyond our church walls.
In sincere gratitude, Heather Zimmerman, Garden of Edin Leadership Team
Bold, New Initiative Grant Expenditures (2016-2017):
1.) to build narrow beds along the interior fence for vertical growing of plants needing support.
2.) to build a Meditation Garden adjacent to the community garden to support the ministry of “community gathering, sharing, and spiritual nourishment.”
Forty raised trellis beds:
1”x10”x 8’ (Amish Lumber) 3.87 80 $340.56
TopSoil 25/ cu. Yd 5 125
Mushroom Compost 39/cu. yd 10 390
Serenity Circle, octangular walled area:
Item $ ea. # $ total
Lumber, deck screws, concrete $765.13
Resin pots for water feature 18.00 4 72
Solar Water feature 16.00 2 32
Landscape fabric & staples 218 1 218.00
Pergola, 24’L x 8’W x 12’H:
Deck screws, bolts, concrete $322.00
Labor (3 people, 2 days of work) $725.00
GRAND TOTAL $3,657.44