A conversation with researcher and author, Karla Winham.
“With limited resources, places of worship can help the communities around them develop and heal. They can nourish people and accompany people. They can be models of what it means to walk gently on the earth.” Tom Urbaniak, Director, Tompkins Institute – Cape Breton University and Chair of the Board, Faith & the Common Good.
Thus begins the preface to researcher, Karla Winham’s study of 10 faith communities that have created gardens at their places of worship and the benefits such gardens entail. You can read her full essay, Gardens Built by Love: Faith-Based Community Gardens on our Resources page. Download the report here.
Communications Manager, Beatrice Ekoko sat down with Karla for a conversation about her research. We’ve condensed the conversation below.
*Note, this resource is not a guide about how to grow a garden. For ‘how to guides', click here.
2020 was a surprising year to all to say the least.
“Lockdowns and social distancing” of the COVID 19 severely put a damper on the plans that the ministry had for the pollinator garden project. We were excited to add more native wildflowers to the garden but were able to add fewer than expected, due to plant shortages. Fortunately, our new and existing plants grew very well and provided quite an attraction. It was a good pollinator year for the bees and the butterflies whose activities were not at all affected by the virus.
As the strange summer of 2020 winds to a close, our Grow Team is looking back fondly on the work that we’ve accomplished, the seeds that we’ve sown, and the community that we’ve built together in the gardens at Eglinton-St. George’s United Church. Over the past weeks and months, our team has been hard at work in the soil at ESG, working to foster the growth of not only fruits, vegetables, and flowers, but also of our own connections to our church, our faith, and our God.
(Congregation in the Labyrinth, Photo Credits: St John the Baptist Anglican Church)
St. John the Baptist Anglican church in the rural part of Ottawa, offers four acres of peaceful greenspace in a village setting. The church’s Quiet Garden and Labyrinth are tucked away off the street in a sheltered setting that provides visitors with a tranquil space to do walking meditation, connect with nature, relax, rest and seek spiritual comfort.
It’s harvest time in Toronto after a long and beautiful growing season. At Eglinton St. George’s United Church, we’re reminded of all the growth that has taken place in our community garden with each tomato that we pick and each leaf of lettuce that we pluck.
There’s an intriguing sign that can be found on Laurier Avenue. You will see it along with twenty or so raised garden beds in front of a large old stone church. The sign says “Urban Shades – Communal Community Garden”. In smaller print the sign explained further “We’re Hosting “Work Bees” Every Sunday at 2 pm. Come and garden with your community.” It’s an interesting new twist to the familiar concept of community gardens.