Providence Gardens: Our Community Garden

posted Sep 1, 2015, 8:51 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Sep 1, 2015, 8:55 AM ]

[From Cross Current, 09.02.15. Subscribers, please go to Continue reading HERE!]


Our Garden is a transitioning ministry. The Plant a Seed ~ Feed the Need Donation Garden is becoming Providence Gardens. Our 10-year-and-beyond plan is to move away from our existing model of a one-way avenue of donations to Interfaith Caring Ministries. Rather, we will move towards an interactive ministry connecting primarily with families from two of our high risk neighborhood elementary schools, both of which are experiencing food insecurities. During a spring meeting called by the At Risk Services Department of the Clear Creek Independent School District, we learned that 23% of students in Galveston County experience food insecurities on a regular basis.


This information was received as a new call to action through our Garden!


Phase I of our plan is to create a steering committee for the transition period leading to activation of this project. The committee will consist of at least six individuals who will meet quarterly to discuss projects, funding, outreach, etc. Connecting with the counselors at League City Elementary [LCE] will be a top priority, as they implement a Communities in Schools program, as well as a Backpack Buddy program. Our parish will be in partnership with CCISD as they assess the needs of the student population.


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We plan to offer at no-cost: junior master gardening program; cooking; nutrition; and, general/adult gardening classes to the families at LCE, as well as to our Mother’s Day Out and St. Christopher families. We will focus upon addressing community needs through a systemic lens, moving from a charitable model towards one of education and self-sufficiency. To begin this work, we will:


  • Redesign the existing garden layout to maximize the cultivated space and minimize wasted space. This means bringing in soil and mulch and removing sod.

  • Address the immediate structural and maintenance needs in the garden. Our shed is failing and the fence is in need of repair. We need to see also to our rain barrel installation.

  • Replace tools. Time and exposure have taken a toll on many of the tools and equipment that we have relied on since our beginning in 2008. Many of these items were donated to us in and already “well used” condition. We will need funds to repair and replace these items. 

  • Assure staffing. We will need to hire a part-time garden manager to be in charge of all aspects of operating the garden and orchard: acquiring plants trees, seeds, and gardening materials; training and management of volunteers; and, create and activate a planting and maintenance schedule for the year. Tabatha Holt has been functioning in this position as a volunteer since 2009. We will also need a part-time program administrator who will be responsible for securing and reporting grant funds; soliciting donations; coordinating volunteer recruitment; community relations; and, program scheduling. Ally Hardick has been functioning in this position as a volunteer since 2007.


Phase II will consist of expansion projects.


  • Outdoor pavilion. We plan a covered outdoor pavilion attached to the southwest portion of our classroom wing, positioned between Buckner Hall and the restrooms. This multi-use addition will serve as an outdoor classroom/ kitchen and gathering space for volunteer groups, as well as a space for film screenings and guest speakers, etc.

  • Driveway. It will be necessary to install a driveway off of St. Christopher Avenue to receive deliveries of mulch, compost, and other necessities.

  • Fence. A new fence will be needed to surround the entire area.

  • Signage. Signage will be needed at the St. Christopher Avenue property line. Our resident Boy Scout troop 609 will be responsible for most of these building projects through their Eagle Scout Project program.


Phase III will include the physical expansion of the garden and orchard.


  • Land clearing. The wooded area to the south will need to be cleared and prepared for cultivation.

  • Greenhouse and irrigation. We will need to purchase some equipment and greenhouse, as well as put in additional irrigation systems.


What’s next? We are actively seeking grant funds and donations from several Episcopal entities, as well as retail companies. Potential corporate partners include: H.E.B. Grocers and Home Depot, to name two among the many corporations that support the environment, education, nutrition and food sustainability, community partnerships, and youth/families through charitable giving.


One of the ways we will seek to create operating funds and sustainability is through a model partnership with our neighbors at Lakeside Lutheran Church. Lakeside has been operating a produce cooperative for two years, currently with 50 members. Such a partnership, already in the preliminary phase, will allow us to broaden our volunteer base, as well as widen our outreach through Lakeside’s existing relationship with Stewart Elementary School, Kemah.


I ask that you prayerfully consider this exciting call to action as St. Christopher forges and strengthens community partnerships in not only feeding, but NOURISHING the hungry, particularly our area children and families.


Please join the Providence Gardens Steering Committee!


Ally Hardick 

Garden Ministry Leader