Faith and community

Faith and community

I have several times extolled the greatness of St. Petersburg, Florida, and I found yet another reason to love this little city.  I am a big fan of composting.  I don’t believe in throwing vegetable scraps filled with nutrients in the garbage to end up in a landfill.  For one thing, they would contribute to dangerous off-gassing.  For another, they can become part of a cycle that returns nutrients to the earth to be regenerated.  So, whilst in St. Pete for an extended period of time, I began to save my veggie scraps in the freezer in the hopes that I would find a home for them other than the wastebasket.  I decided to do a search online for community gardens in St. Pete, thinking that they might want the scraps for compost for gardening.  Instead, I learned that there was a large garden near my apartment on the grounds of a recovery house.  I was told they also had chickens and would welcome my donation.

The first time I walked down with my scraps, I found the recovery house, but I did not see a garden.  I ended up knocking on the door and handing my bag of goodies to someone who would feed them to the chickens.  Several months later, I wanted to make sure it was still OK to bring my scraps, so I again called the community garden phone number.  I was told that if I walked down the alley behind the recovery house, I could dump my scraps over the fence for the chickens.  So, this time I ventured past the recovery house and there were the chickens!  About a dozen lovely ladies and gents were busy pecking away at the earth.  It was so amazing to see them right in the middle of the city, just a few streets away from a busy 5-lane street.

Faith House Community Garden

I dumped my bag over the fence, and they flocked over to check it out.  I could see now that the recovery house was actually part of a larger complex of buildings on a large lot.  I was more interested than ever to know more about what was being done there.  The man I had spoken with, Emmanuel, had invited me to visit the garden on either a Wednesday or Sunday morning when the volunteers were working.  So, a few weeks later when my good friends Jessi and Michelle were visiting me, we walked over to the garden.

Faith House Community Garden

What a magical place!  The garden look lush and healthy, with banana trees, tons of kale (yum!), tomatoes and all sort of other delicious produce.  They are even growing a food forest on a corner of the lot.  The vegetables and fruits are used as food for the recovery house.  What a treat!  As it turns out, Emmanuel ended up on the board of the recovery house and organized the volunteers to create this garden.  I was so touched at this generosity and impressed with the urban agriculture initiative.  And how lucky am I that they are just down the street?

Faith House Community Garden

It really warmed my heart to see what a group of conscientious people could do in an urban setting, something that benefited so many people – me included.  I am so grateful to be able to enjoy this community asset.

Photos by the talented Michelle Donner of Michelle Donner Photography – Sarasota, FL.

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