October 13, 2016

Interfaith gardening in Minnesota

The Gandhi Mahal Interfaith Garden is a collaborative project with Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light(MNIPL), Gandhi Mahal Restaurant, All Saints Episcopal Indian Mission, and New City Church.

Gandhi Mahal started this backyard garden in 2012 as a pilot project with HECUA, providing local, sustainably-grown food for the restaurant. The garden is a part of a bigger network of farms and of the economic system of Gandhi Mahal, showcasing their commitment to building sustainable communities and increasing the food security of our neighborhoods. Check out what Gandhi Mahal has done over the years!

This year MNIPL is leading this collaborative urban farm program to explore the connections between food, faith, and climate change. They are growing crops that become an assortment of traditional Bangladeshi/Indian dishes at Gandhi Mahal, as well as supply the healthy, traditional indigenous ingredients for free community meals prepared at First Nations Kitchen every Sunday night, a ministry of All Saints Episcopal Indian Mission.

jam-session-sunday-open-garden-night-731

Open Garden Nights were every Sunday throughout the summer. The garden serves as a radically welcoming, open space for folks from community dinner at First Nations Kitchen and neighbors to spend time at the garden.

interfaith-climate-conversation-iftar-62316

In June they hosted an incredible Interfaith Climate Conversation, making the connection between climate change and agriculture through their Climate Conversations model, participants spoke from Muslim, Baha’i, Christian faith backgrounds about their connection to food. This event fell during Ramadan, so afterward everyone shared in a community Iftar to break fast together, hosted at Gandhi Mahal.

October 10, 2016

Cool Congregation Gardens – St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church

stmarks3 stmarks2 stmarks

 

St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lacey, Washington entered the 2015 Cool Congregations Challenge with their Community Garden.

Their church had slightly over an acre of land that had been fallow and unused for years. One of their church members really wanted to instill a love of the planet into the Sunday School kids so they started vegetable seedlings and planted them in the back lot.

A small group was formed in 2011 from the church and many skeptical members watched from the sidelines (“How are they going to do an ORGANIC garden?”) Kiwanis of Olympia had three large Food Bank gardens and they helped the church set up low pressure irrigation that irrigated just the crops, they supplied them with seed potatoes for 2000 row feet, explained how to harvest, and supplied some equipment. A core group of volunteers worked very hard in 2011, & 2012 to weed and maintain the garden and at the end of the second summer the skeptical members were very impressed! Their ranks of volunteers and monetary supporters continues to grow. They are fully pesticide free, and all organic.

What started as a Sunday School class planting veggie starts is now a well established Community Garden with 46 raised beds offered free to community members (drip irrigation included) each growing season, and over an acre of cultivated land which grew 9100 pounds of produce for the Thurston County Food Bank. This brings our total since 2010 to 33,600 pounds. They believe others find inspiration in this project from the diverse partnerships that have been formed.

Today they have a vibrant, community-based, environmentally sensitive garden where learning, relationship building, fun, and very hard work all come together.   Lacey Parks and Recreation dept. advertises their free raised beds and we have many more community members than church members using their raised beds and helping in the Food Bank garden.   Mountain View Elementary, a large elementary school across the street, working with the Food Bank educator, sent 22 field trips for a total of 700 children to the garden this past spring to plant veggie starts and seeds, identify and taste fresh veggies, and have a healthy snack . The children were ecstatic to plant, grow and harvest vegetables, as well as learn how vegetables can not only be weird and beautiful, but also nutritious for the body. Several kids stated that “This is the BEST field trip ever!”   GOD’S work, OUR Hands. Komachin middle school science department grew broccoli and cabbage starts for them as part of their science curriculum. Cooking classes, provided by a grant, were also provided to all classes by Food Bank educator and their members using garden produce and other food.

“Our Members are very proud of our lovely garden space and some community members like to stroll through the raised bed garden, sit at our picnic table, and just enjoy nature.”

 

St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church entered this project into the Cool Congregations Challenge.  If you have a great project going on at your congregation enter it into the 2016 challenge an you could win your congregation $1,000!

October 6, 2016

Cool Congregation Gardens – Cornerstone Edibles Small Farm

cornerstone cornerstone2

 

Cornerstone Edibles Small Farm is a project of Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Naples Florida.   Their mission is to help each other interact with creation and community by building a new Eden. The goal of their farming is not only the raising of crops but the cultivation and sanctification of human beings. Their community-oriented garden and grove is the land that supports our farm-to-table agriculture, nutrition education, and faith-rooted initiatives. Proceeds from their community vegetables, herbs and soon to be tropical fruit sales support this valued community work.

Their challenge was to create a working, educational, organic vegetable garden. Within 2 years they created a small size farm where they are now planting 30-40 vegetables, 90 tropical fruit trees and 20 herbs. Propagation, grafting classes and tree identification are offered weekly.

Proceeds are distributed on a weekly basis during season to church members after both services, to their local community and laborers based upon need not want. A monthly gathering in the field “Farm To Table” potluck is a perfect opportunity for the unchurched, marginalized and friends of Cornerstone Edibles to join them for a meal and conversation.

Check out a video about their program

 

 

Cornerstone United Methodist Church entered this project into the Cool Congregations Challenge.  If you have a great project going on at your congregation enter it into the 2016 challenge an you could win your congregation $1,000!

October 2, 2014

Harvesting Hands

Kentucky Interfaith Power & Light runs a program call Harvesting Hands which works to provide food to people in need.

Every year in the United States between 40% and 50% of all food that is produced and ready for harvest is wasted. That means that for every square mile of corn that is grown, every gallon of milk that is produced or animal that is raised an identical one ends up in the landfill. Not only is this wasteful but it places an heavy and unnecessary burden on the planet.

Food production has one of the largest harmful impacts on the environment through fertilizer and pesticide run off, soil erosion and emission of green house gases. A recent U.N. study found that livestock alone accounts for more green house gas emissions than the entire global transportation sector combined. In the mean time many of our neighbors who are dependent on food shelters for their meals struggle to find fresh, whole and healthy food on their plates.

Harvesting Hands is a volunteer based program that works to address both of these issues in Kentucky’s local food system by gathering (or gleaning) fresh excess produce and turning it into a valuable resource for our neighbors in need. They glean from both farmer’s markets and local farms.

Through this action they not only help to provide healthy food to those in need but they also honor the fossil fuel resources that are used in producing the food.

Often farmers or vegetable sellers overestimate the amount of food they need to grow or sell. Traditionally that food is trashed and then contributes to higher carbon emissions. The Harvesting Hands program helps to harvest that unused food by going to farms and picking the excess or collecting it from farmers markets.

Run by volunteers, Harvesting Hands reduces waste and is building a more sustainable food future.

producefield

October 2, 2014

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

Did you know that 40% of America’s food is wasted?

North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light partnered with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle program to help get some of that wasted food into the homes of people who need it most. In 2013, the Food Shuttle distributed over 7.1 million pounds of food that would have otherwise gone to waste.

In addition to food distribution, the organization works with schools to provide food to children from food-insecure homes. They also do door-to-door distribution of fresh produce and groceries to seniors.

By saving unused food from going into landfills, NC IPL and the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle are helping reduce carbon emissions and combat hunger in North Carolina.
producegirls