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2001 at St. John's United Church of Christ Organic CommunityGarden

  • Subject: [cg] 2001 at St. John's United Church of Christ Organic CommunityGarden
  • From: Alliums <garlicgrower@snip.net>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 10:16:41 -0500

Hi, Folks!

I have to do an "end of year" report to the church as to what the garden has
been up to in the past year.  Since it's going to be posted on the church's
website, I figured I'd share it with the rest of you. . .

Enjoy and e-mail if you have questions.


December 2001

Dear Community Garden Friend:

As the year 2001 closes, we thought this would be a good time to share with
you what an amazing year this has been at St. John's United Church of Christ
Organic Community Garden.

VOLUNTEERS:  By signing up with VolunteerMatch.org, not only were we able to
bring more folks to both our Spring Work Day during National Volunteer Week
on April 28th (50 volunteers) and the Fall Work Days during the United Way
Day of Caring on October 23rd (25 volunteers from Siemens Corporation) and
"Make A Difference Day" on October 27th (75 volunteers), but we were blessed
with the dedication of Cindy Oursler and Tina Abel who came once a week
every week from Spring until late Fall to tend the herb/fruit tree/perennial
areas.  The young men of the Community Garden Program at St. Gabriel's Hall
labored at both the Spring and Fall Work Days, plus joined us to June to dig
a drainage swale.  The children participating in the North Side Community
Watch Summer Service Program helped one night a week in July and August.
Since March, we've also been joined every Wednesday afternoon by Roy and
Harry from the Ken-Crest Services Day Program who do the landscaping work
too heavy for our regular volunteers.  Harry and Roy were featured on the
front page of The Phoenix to encourage folks to join us for "Make A
Difference Day."  The Chester County Juvenile Probation Community Service
Program pitched in on "Make A Difference Day" and has expressed interest in
regularly scheduling community service project at the garden. Although they
could not come on "Make A Difference Day," the Owen J. Roberts High School
Honor Society donated their time the Saturday afterwards and prepared the
perennial areas for winter.

GARDENING:  Our primary focus remains providing free garden space to anyone
in the Phoenixville area who wishes to garden organically and agrees to
donate at least 10% (the Biblical tithe) of their harvest either directly to
someone in need or to the food bank operated by Phoenixville Area Community
Services (PACS).  In 2001, our 35 gardeners on 17 plots remained the primary
source of in-season fresh produce for the PACS food bank.  We had gardeners
in age ranging from toddlers (helping their parents!) to senior citizens and
from the range of ethnic groups which live in Phoenixville.  For our
food-growing efforts, we're listed with the "Plant A Row For the Hungry"
(PAR) program of the Garden Writers' of America Association.

SHOWS:  For the first time ever, we entered the Philadelphia Flower Show!
Carla Pomponi and Irene Sobotincic won the Blue Ribbon (First Prize) for
their entry in the "Foliage Fever:  Windowbox With Hanging Basket" class
while Dorene Pasekoff and Ed O'Neill took lesser ribbons in single plant
categories.  For the second year in a row, however, St. John's United Church
of Christ Organic Community Garden won the Community Garden Sweepstakes
Award, given to the community garden winning the most blue ribbons. We
exhibited 65 entries by 10 gardeners for a total of 63 ribbons, with 29 of
them blue and 2 Bronze (Best of Division) Medals in floral and herbal
divisions. None of this would have been possible without the help of Bob
Noll, who drives our entries to the Shows and smooths our way with the judges!

DONATIONS:  Phoenixville Community Health Foundation donated the funds to
hire Ben Cownap of the Kimberton Hills Wood Workshop to construct our brand
new hardy kiwi pergola.  Les Beachy, kiwi expert with Seed Savers Exchange,
donated 5 different varieties of hardy kiwi for the structure.  The
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, William Woys Weaver and Irene Sobotincic
also donated fruit trees, vegetable seeds and rare native plants to the
community garden this year.  John Kook donated his time to direct the
volunteers from St. Gabriel's Hall and the large shed on the west side of
the garden to store equipment.

COORDINATOR'S ACTIVITIES:  In February, Jane Pepper, President of the
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), interviewed me about garlic for
her weekly column in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Besides helping out at the
American Community Gardening Association (ACGA) National Office throughout
the year, I represented ACGA at the Philadelphia Urban Land Use Conference
held during the Philadelphia Flower Show.  I assisted Kimberton Hills
Camphill Village with the Rodale Institute's traveling exhibit "Healthy
Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy People" while it was housed at the Phoenixville
Foundry Building this summer as the community garden was a featured example
of organic principles in action.  I also helped the Village plan an
Alternative Home Conference.  In July, I attended the PHS' "Tree Farming
Forum" and gave a workshop on "Fall Gardening the Organic Way" for the
Philadelphia Urban Garden Project.  In August, "Green Scene", PHS'
membership magazine, published my article on garlic and the Harvest Show.
Besides my time on the Phoenixville Communities That Care (CTC) Community
Board, I was asked to serve on the newly formed Executive Board for the
Phoenixville CTC project.  In September, I gave a garlic tasting at the
Philadelphia Slow Food Picnic and at the end of October, I gave another
tasting for Les Dames d'Escoffier, the women's culinary society.  In
October, I also spoke to St. John's United Church of Christ Guild on
"Gardening the Organic Way" and attended the Community Food Security
Coalition Conference in Washington, DC.

THE 2002 SEASON:  While the garden is currently taking a much-needed break
for winter, we'll open in March for volunteering in the perennial area and
open for plot gardening on April 6, 2002. Our Spring Work Day, open to
gardeners and community volunteers alike, will be April 27, 2002 from 10 am
to 2 pm.  If you or anyone you know would like to donate time or garden on a
plot in 2002, just call the church at 610-933-5311 or drop me an e-mail at
<alliums@yahoo.com>.  Agriculture is an infinitely expandable activity, so
there's always something to do for everyone!


Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden

A mission of 
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA  19460

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