Mini Gardens: Loving Our Neighbors Through Healthy Food

UBC is creating practical ways for you to get involved from home in loving your neighbor. We are engaging in a church-wide crop growing initiative that will provide our partners at Highland Elementary, Open Air Ministries, and the Interfaith Federation with healthy food. 

 

The church will be providing members and friends of the faith community with miniature raised garden beds to grow crops throughout the coming seasons. 

 

Not everyone is a green thumb, so we want to provide several ways for you to partner with the initiative, including helping build the miniature beds, managing a garden bed or two at your home, gathering the crops at the harvest, or adding aesthetic features to the initiative. 

Building Partners

Building partners will help manufacture the 2x2 raised garden beds on August 23rd at the Summer Gathering. The material will be provided. However, we will need partners to bring skill saws and drills. Our goal is to build 25 beds. 

Growing Partners

Growing partners will receive a 2x2 raised garden bed with soil, plans, and instructions for growing. We will be growing broccoli and cauliflower through October, turning to a late fall and winter crop in November. 

 

While a donation is not required, we are recommending a $30 donation per raised garden bed. This will help cover the cost of the material. 

 

Garden Bed Packs will be available for pick up, starting August 30th, at the church office (Sunday, 9:00-11:30 am; Monday-Thursday, 9:00 am-4:30 pm) or can be delivered by scheduling with Halena (halena@ubc-br.org). 

Gathering Partners

Gathering Partners will help with delivery Garden Bed Packs to the homes of Growing Partners and pick-up crops at the time of harvest. 

 

Gathering Partners will network with the church office for scheduling the bed deliveries and crop pick-ups. 

Aesthetic Partners

Aesthetic Partners are invited to give this initiative a little artistic flair. We are looking for partners to design art for the garden beds, such as kindness rocks or small crop signs. We are also open to other ideas to give the garden beds some pizazz. There will also be more projects down the road for crop care packages. 

 

Blank rocks and signs are available in the Office for pick up. Completed art items need to be returned to the church office by August 28th at noon.  

Leadership

As the Mini Garden Project takes off, we are looking for partners willing to lead different facets of the initiative. If you see an area that you'd like to serve, please contact Halena (halena@ubc-br.org). 

Partner Registration

Please click the "Sign Up!" button below or call the office to register as a Building, Growing, Gathering, or Aesthetic Partner:

Share the Story

As Mini Garden beds find their new homes and as plants begin to grow, we want to share your story of partnership. Here are a few ways you can do that: 

  1. Take a picture, posting it on Instagram and/or Facebook, tagging UBC. 

  2. Don't have social media? Take a picture and email it to manager@ubc-br.org

  3. Give us a quote about why you are a partner with the Mini Garden Project. Email manager@ubc-br.org.

  4. Share your story weekly in your Spiritual Formation and Sunday School class. 

Tips & Reflection:

Week 1 

  • If you haven’t already planted your carrot seeds, you can plant 16 of them per square foot. Drop 2 or 3 of the tiny seeds into a small indentation in the soil, just barely under the surface, and cover them with soil.

  • Keep your garden bed watered consistently (once a day should suffice when it’s cool out). Make sure the soil is damp, but not soaking. It may take a few weeks to see a lot of initial growth, but watering in these first few weeks is critical!

  • Make sure the garden bed is in a spot that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight a day.

  • If you see any weeds sprout up, pull them out!

Reflection:

As you begin caring for your Mini Garden, can you do so reflectively, prayerfully, or even worshipfully? Try not to just rush through pulling those weeds or watering your crops, but rather allow yourself to slow down even for a few minutes. As you walk outside to your garden, pause and take a deep breath. How amazing is it that those tiny seeds and seedlings will grow to produce food for someone in need? How amazing is it that you get to be a part of that? Be encouraged that in caring for a small 2x2ft garden bed, you are doing great work for the Kingdom of God. 

Watch here: https://youtu.be/NZwtRZcdIoo

Week 2 

Your tips this week are simple: water and sun!! The carrots especially need lots of water in these first few weeks, so make sure the soil never gets totally dry! A good watering a couple times a day should do the trick!

 

Reflection:

In Luke 8:4-15, Jesus tells a parable about four soils. While there’s much to be gleaned from this parable, one thing always comes to mind for me: good soil takes a lot of work. Believe it or not, the soil in your mini garden bed likely took many months to develop, with lots of care and attention to nutrients, composition, texture, etc. Jesus challenges us to be like the good soil, ready for whatever seed God wants to plant in our lives. 

 

How are you preparing the soil of your life through prayer, reflection, study, etc.? Is there a spiritual practice you could add in your life this week to continue tilling your soil?

Watch here: https://youtu.be/Ubq7JQCD6EI

Week 3 

You should be seeing a couple carrot sprouts this week! (no, those are not weeds!). Keep watering them well. It may be that you need to water multiple times a day, as the boxes drain very well. 

 

Pay attention to the leaves on your cabbage plants. Do they look wilted or brown? If so, they may need a bit more water. 

 

Reflection:

 “In everything I have shown you that by working hard, we must help the weak.” (Acts 20:35a)

 

In Acts 20, Paul offers a farewell word to the leaders of the church in Ephesus by encouraging them to continue helping the weak among them. This week, your garden has sprouted tiny carrots! At this stage in their journey, they are indeed very weak, fragile, and vulnerable, and need a lot of care from you. As you tend to your garden, be reminded of the great work we have been called to in caring for those who are vulnerable. In what ways might God be calling you this week to extend yourself in care for those in need?

Bill and Sheri Wischusen’s garden!

Week 4 

Sometimes, you can do everything right to care for your garden, but pests can enter into the picture!  One thing to look out for is evidence of squirrels or other rodents digging in your garden bed. Do you notice any holes or divots in the soil? Any torn up plants? If so, let us know and we can help you find a good solution! Otherwise, focus on the same thing as last week: water and sun!

 

Reflection:

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” ― Wendell Berry

 

In these chaotic times, do you agree with Wendell Berry that care for the earth and fostering its renewal might just be our only hope? In what ways can caring for your garden give you perspective on what really matters in life?

Week 5 

How tall are your carrot sprouts this week? Once they reach about 3-4 inches tall, you should be thinking about thinning them to one plant per spot (16 per square foot)! If they are tall enough, simply find the shortest sprouts or the ones that look the least healthy, pinch them at the soil, and pull them out like a week (of course being sure not to damage the good sprout!). If this is too difficult because they are spaced too closely together, let us know and we’ll guide you from there!

 

Reflection:

Galatians 6:9 - “Let us not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up.”

 

By now, several weeks into caring for your adopted garden, you may find yourself bored. Water, weeds, sun. Water, weeds, sun. Growing vegetables is really all about consistency. It’s similar with our faith. Sometimes we simply show up to do the small things every day, and nothing spectacular happens. However, this often seems to be what our calling entails. Hear the words above from Galatians, and remember that even when it isn’t exciting, or even when you don’t see immediate results, the work that you are doing in faith and service will produce an abundant harvest.

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