By David Fleet
Brandon Twp.-It’s just a 4 foot by 8 foot garden box—but it’s Ken Miller’s personal space.
“Right now it’s full of tomato plants, snow peas and squash,” said Miller. “But it also represents a place for reflection that will soon be a bounty come harvest time. It keeps us outside and a great distraction from some stressful times today.”
The Seymour Lake Community Garden was created with a series of organic vegetable beds with drip irrigation on the expansive church property. The plots are then jobbed out to by different people in the community, mostly those from the church who raise a variety of produce.
Jill Tice, director of discipleship helped spearhead the project at Seymour Lake United Methodist Church (SLUMC), 3050 S Sashabaw Road. The idea was to seek ways of meeting the healing and well-being of people during the pandemic.
“In this, people in our community can improve health through better nutrition, increased physical activity, fresh air, boost vitamin D and maintain and develop relationships as they tend to and watch their garden grow,” said Tice. “It a great activity for the whole family and has been a big success—something really beautiful. This is an awesome and positive thing that is going on through the chaotic existence of the last three months or so.”
The Seymour Lake Community Garden doesn’t charge a fee to seasonal garden bed users, rather ask a portion of their harvest be donated to care for the needs of others. This portion will go to area soup kitchens and local food pantries.
“We have a constituency in our area that will benefit not only in the harvest, but in the planting, cultivating and nurturing of their garden and their lives.”
Tice emphasizes God’s Hands at work at the gardens.
“Through their excitement to see new life spring up from the pandemic darkness, we plan to expand this mission to include more beds next year, along with different community classes to broaden interaction and garden knowledge,” she said.
The program will now be expanded and include care and garden maintenance a garden, preparation of a healthy meal, preservation of the harvest and activities for children to include stories in the garden.
“In this time of great difficulty we all have been inundated with coronavirus and public unrest, resulting in a historic rise in, depression, suicide, alcoholism, drug abuse, and the list goes on,” she said. “We are showing our town the good that God is doing through us.”