Church launches community garden for both locals and food banks – The Advocate-Messenger

Church launches community garden for both locals and food banks

Released at 8:00 am on Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Mort Hoaglund of Danville spent a busy summer helping the Centenary United Methodist Church (CUMC) tend its new community garden.

In the church’s new garden, both parishioners and community members can request a 10-by-10-foot plot to plant the food and flowers of their choice. Half of the garden is dedicated to those plots and the other half is designated for donation to the New Hope Food Pantry in Danville.

CUMC associate pastor John Duff said he heard from some church members last year that they wanted a community garden. The church property has about 20 acres of land, most of which is wild grass that needs to be mowed. Duff said gardens are a great way to use the land for something that benefits the community.

“Our hope for gardens is to use and care for our land, so that people who may not have land can have gardens if they want, and provide themselves with food.” It also allows us to provide and promote our community,” Duff said.

The garden started this spring, mainly at the direction of church members. Duff explained that church member and local farmer Spencer Ginn helped start the garden with his farm equipment. Duff’s wife, Charlotte Abel, helped plan and get people involved.

The church had those who claimed the lot sign a contract agreeing to properly manage the lot over the summer. Duff explained that people’s lots are right next to other lots, and if someone doesn’t weed their own lot, it affects the adjacent lot.

Duff said there were a few people who didn’t tend to the plots and had to email people about taking care of the weeds. A local named Mort Hoaglund volunteered to help the people tend the lot, along with local Boy Scouts and other volunteers.

“We mostly got good participation, but there were a few people who really didn’t know what they were doing or what they were signing up for, so Mort helped those people and the Boy Scouts. “I had a lot of help,” said Duff.

Duff said the garden is half church members and half community members. During the summer, people planted all kinds of vegetables and flowers: okra, squash, basil, cucumbers, potatoes, thyme, oregano, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, sunflowers, pollinator flowers. .

The church received a $1,000 local community garden grant for the cost of fencing to keep animals out. Hoagland and Guinn built a fence around the garden.

Hoagland also helps you take care of the food pantry side of your garden. He said New Hope donated about 700 pounds of fresh vegetables to his food pantry over the summer. Local pantries don’t always get fresh vegetables and fruits.

“We look at it as a ministry to the community,” Hoagland said. “I feel that God has given us this.

As a farmer, Hoaglund said he is encouraged by the interest many young people have in sustainable farming, and that the garden is an opportunity for them to learn how to grow their own food.

He said he was happy to help those who didn’t know much about gardening, but that gardening on his own this summer was a daunting task. I hope that more people will volunteer and participate next year.

It’s not easy. It’s hard work. July and he August will be hot and rainless,” he says Hoagland. “I’ve been on this for six months and it’s pretty heavy and I’m not traveling where I want to go. It’s a lot of work.”

Hoagland grew up on a small farm in Henry County and tended a large garden. He was the youngest of his ten siblings and, like many other farms at the time, grew all kinds of vegetables, plenty of corn for cattle, and tobacco. He said his mother would teach him what to do with the garden, but he didn’t learn everything.

“When I was a kid, I didn’t pay much attention to what I was doing in the garden. I just did what my mother told me,” Hoagland said. “She said, ‘Go pick the beans,’ or ‘Go plant the corn,’ and I tried to do it, but I didn’t pay attention to the nuances of when to do it. It was a learning experience.”

Hoagland grew up and was friends with famous novelist Wendell Berry, a fellow Henry County native and local farming enthusiast.

After graduating from the University of Kentucky Law School in 1969, Hoagland worked as a banker for 44 years. He lived in Danville for 39 years and is now retired.

Hoaglund said he hopes to expand the garden significantly in the future and plant more trees on the property. help plant cover crops to protect He also wants to build a compost pile next year.

Duff also said he hopes more people will participate next year, especially when it comes to harvesting.

“We love teaching people how to take care of the planet, how to feed themselves, and how to build community while doing it,” Duff said.

If you would like to participate next year, please email [email protected] or

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