Start a community garden! Help provide space for healthy, local food by creating community garden plots on your faith property.
It’s a way to show your faith in action through outreach to the community, and can be combined with other programs and community engagement such as seed-saving and seed-swap events, contributions to your local food bank, hosting local food or 100 mile dinners, or even offering canning or food preparation workshops in your kitchen, using produce from your faith community’s gardens and sharing intergenerational knowledge and skills.Here are some options, resources, and inspiration:
Raised-bed gardens provide accessibility for children, seniors, those with limited mobility, and others who find it difficult to bend down to do gardening. Raised-bed gardens also increase visibility and are excellent options for properties with concerns about poor soil quality or compacted earth.
Square-foot gardening is appropriate for small spaces and high yields.
Multi-generational planting initiatives are a great way to get the whole community involved. Begin with letting people know about your plans, and that part of your faith property will soon be under cultivation. You may find new sources of volunteers within your congregation or within your community!
If you don’t have space on your faith property, consider having congregation members join an existing community garden as volunteers. School gardens are becoming more common and often need community help during the height of the growing season, when school is out.
View the video below for inspiration and information on the community garden at Morningside – High Park Presbyterian:
Faith-based Gardening Resources
Scroll down to the blue section below for resources created by Faith & the Common Good.
Attend a workshop in your region or make use of online resources on raised beds, organic growing, and how-to documents.
Join a local Community Garden Network or look for opportunities to partner with local schools, seniors’ residences, shelters, or food banks to build community.
Advice and resources are available at www.arocha.ca/communitygardens.
Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) in the United States has faith garden ideas at www.coolharvest.org
Sow a Cool Harvest — Faith garden ideas for a cool planet — Download Gardening Kit under Cool Harvest Garden tab (30 pages) — information not only on raised bed gardens,
- worm composters, beneficial insects, heirloom seeds, earth blessings, model gardens, and organic gardening tips, but also alternative ways to get involved if your faith community does not have property or space adequate or appropriate for building your own garden
Creating a Raised Bed Garden — www.coolharvest.org/garden/creating-a-raised-bed-garden
Cool Harvest Potluck Kit — order form at Cool Harvest Potluck Kit under Cool Harvest Food tab — suggestions for pot-lucks and other meals that can be shared with the earth in mind, with guidelines and ideas for considering carbon footprint, local food security, organic and meatless options, printable invitations, and discussion guide
Cool Harvest Movie Kit — order form at Cool Harvest Movie Kit under Cool Harvest Movies tab
Seeds of Diversity has a website with resources on seed saving, heritage plants, and lists of “Seedy Saturday” seed sales and exchange events.
Evergreen offers funding through several programs for tree-planting, gardening, and native species planting. Their website also has links and databases on native species and community gardens.
Intergenerational learning about healthy soil and organic gardening; here, children learn what good soil is made up of and how composting helps give back to the earth. Later, they plant and pick tasty snacks.
Consider adding soil lessons or container gardening and composting workshops to your Vacation Bible School or summer children’s program.
Photo credits: George Street United, Peterborough; Trinity-Nazarene, Islington United, Morningside-High Park Presbyterian
Outdoor Greening Case Studies
New in 2018! Read how other faith communities are expanding their mission outdoors through various gardens including xeriscape, labyrinth, pollinator, sacred medicine wheel, and wildflower gardens. In the following case studies, you will find examples of both larger suburban projects along with small urban sites including sidewalks. Some gardens were initiated with very little money, while others sought out grants and other financial support. Find out how your garden team can do the same with a review of our case studies that include lessons learned and keys to success! A special thanks to our funders the Ottawa Community Foundation and the City of Ottawa (CEPGP) and all the faith communities who shared their stories, photos, and enthusiasm for their Care for Creation outdoor projects with us!
Scroll through the 10 case studies. You can download them individually or download the complete set at the bottom of this section.
Kitchissippi United Church - Depave Project
Kitchissippi United Church transformed a grey asphalt courtyard into a green lush entranceway that parishioners and building tenants benefit from and enjoy. Green landscapes can help soak up rainwater and lessen the burden of local storm water and sewer systems while also cooling down microclimates that add to the heat island effect of cities…
Download PDF (2.5 MB)
Trinity Presbyterian Church (Kanata) - Pollinator Garden
The Trinity Presbyterian pollinator garden in Kanata is home to native plants that provide nectar and pollen to beneficial insects and birds. Native pollinators are an essential component to the ecology of plants, ensuring that flowers are fertilized and food can grow. Supporting a variety of pollinators promotes a strong, biodiverse local ecosystem…
Download PDF (3.5 MB)
Trinity United Church – Wildflower Garden
Trinity United Church’s wildflower garden initially conceived by their Church in Society Committee, was installed in the back lawn of the faith community’s property and has evolved over time.time. Native wildflowers are better able to survive local conditions including temperatures and drought and require less maintenance including pesticides than their more exotic counterparts…
Download PDF (2.5 MB)
First Unitarian – Meditation Garden
The First Unitarian Meditation Gardens have been designed and maintained by the First Unitarian church over the past twenty years for the benefit of all groups on the sixacre campus plus visitors from the entire city. It was designed to be an urban oasis for “relaxation, restoration, observation and meditation”…
Download PDF (3.0 MB)
Centretown United Church – Sidewalk Community Garden
At Centretown United Church, raised sidewalk planters that held trees for more than 30 years have been transformed by the installation of a community garden. Something valuable has been created from the derelict empty planters for the church, the community and for Centre 507, a downtown Drop-In…
Download PDF (1.95 MB)
St. Luke's Anglican – Sidewalk Community Garden
Empty spaces that had once held city shade trees for more than 30 years have been transformed by St. Luke’s Parish through the installation of gardens to grow fresh produce for the local St. Luke’s Table meal program. These gardens are now a valuable community asset and have brought back to life a…
Download PDF (1.8 MB)
The Anglican Parish of March_St. John's Church_Outdoor Labyrinth
St John’s Church in Kanata provides an outdoor meditation experience for both its congregation and the larger neighbourhood community with their labyrinth garden. An outdoor labyrinth is a versatile addition to a faith community. A labyrinth walk is a spiritual and meditative tool that can be used for various purposes. It’s also a pleasant and unique landscape design that…
Download PDF (3.2 MB)
Glebe St. James United Church – Medicine Wheel
The Glebe-St. James United Church Sacred Medicine Wheel garden is a visible sign of the faith community’s allyship with First Nation communities. A Medicine Wheel garden represents the cycles of nature and is grown for medicinal purposes and harvested to be used as peace offerings. The First Nation relationship with…
Download PDF (2.8 MB)
Knox United Church – Community Garden
With a large expanse of lawn, support from the City of Ottawa’s Community Garden Network Fund and a generous bequest, Knox United Church has created a wonderful local gardening space that is open to both congregants and community members. Community gardens such as these allow people to grow local healthy fresh produce that doesn’t have to…
Download PDF (1.15 MB)
Special Faith Community & Cultural Gardens
This case study shares some of the details of three other special faith community and cultural gardens found in Ottawa. They are an inspiration for their ingenuity, community spirit and cultural significance. Each has a unique focus and approach and have been successful in gathering local support and volunteer dedication…
Download PDF (2.98 MB)
ALL 10 OUTDOOR GREENING CASE STUDIES
Community Garden Presentation
Community Garden Guide
Greening Sacred Spaces has developed a community garden guide for faith communities creating a community food garden. This comprehensive how-to guide includes information on:
- setting up a garden
- forming a volunteer team
- planting a garden, including depth and drainage, organic matter, container gardening, rooftop gardening, tools, and other options
- maintaining a garden – weeding, watering, and pest control tips
- harvesting the garden – picking, monitoring, and chronicling the crop, freezing and fermenting, storing and replenishing soil
- a garden resource list
Download PDF (1.8 MB)
See also the companion Community Garden Presentation.