FUMC's Community Gardenby Kathi Thompson - April 2017
Over 10 years ago, a condemned house located at Asbury's northwest corner of Erie and Franklin Streets, was torn down by FUMC. Member Tom Neff obtained permission from the trustees to convert this vacant land into a community garden. Tom wanted people to become good stewards of our land and benefit from a garden by growing fresh and healthy produce. Tom recruited the assistance of members Bill Blake and John Holmgren to rototill the property, which they continued to do annually for 5-6 years.
In the last four years, garden boxes were installed and pathways were mulched in an attempt to minimize weeds. Currently, the boxes are used and maintained by individuals from the church and the Resale Shop, as well as food pantry patrons who are interested in feeding their families healthier foods at a very reasonable cost. Excess produce is donated to the church where it is available as a free will offering, with proceeds given to the food pantry at the end of the growing season. Additional excess crops are donated directly to the pantry for their patrons.
The benefits of our garden are far greater than growing organically. It has stimulated social interaction within our community and created opportunities for recreation, exercise and education.
Over the years the trees on the property have gotten taller, creating shade and reducing the growing area of the garden. Because of this several of the garden boxes needed to be moved creating some much-needed wasted space. Our hope is that some time in the future we will be able to have the trees trimmed up to allow sunlight back into the garden, allowing us to utilize the shaded growing space once again.