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The Phoenix: Community Garden Feeds the Needy

  • Subject: [cg] The Phoenix: Community Garden Feeds the Needy
  • From: "Alliums" garlicgrower@green-logic.com
  • Date: Fri, 27 May 2005 14:34:53 -0400
  • Thread-index: AcVi6sWckf4KQjoeRKqZe0uUBVpXSQ==

Hi, Folks!

Here's The Phoenix's write-up of yesterday's Chester County Gleaning Project
2005 Kick-off with Chester County Commissioner Andrew Dinniman visiting St.
John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden.

The Phoenix doesn't put photos on the web, but the issue has a GREAT photo
of Rebecca working diligently on her plot while the rest of us just stand
around!  Rebecca's plot looks great and that's probably why! ;-)

Thanks so much for Comissioner Dinniman and his aide, Stephannie Beemer, for
setting up this visit and choosing our community garden to highlight this

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

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



The Phoenix, 05/27/2005 
Community garden feeds the needy  
By BILL RETTEW JR., brettew@phoenixvillenews.com  

PHOENIXVILLE - Almost hidden away, behind Bethel Baptist Church on Fairview
Street, sits a community garden that helps to feed the needy.

Raspberries, potatoes, 18 varieties of garlic (the garden is part of the SE
Pa. garlic trials), heirloom tomatoes, broccoli raab, hardy kiwi, quince and
apple trees, lilacs and 35 types of roses all flourish on 35 family and
individual plots. 

This bounty is tended by local gardeners at the one acre St. John's UCC
Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth.

Gardeners each contribute at least ten percent - some even as much as 75
percent - of their harvest as part of a countywide gleaning project.

Dinniman started the project and more than ten similar county gardens with a
group of county workers and volunteers.

"We started gleaning in 1996 at places like this that were just weeds and
where people drank and rode motorcycles," said Dinniman. "And since then
we've produced 220 tons of food at virtually no expense."

Dinniman said that the idea for gleaning in Chester County is not an
original one. Scripture from the Bible's Old Testament recounts that farmers
would often set aside the edge of their fields for the poor and needy to
pick "a little" produce.

"This is a way which we see the concepts of the Bible put into a modern,
working framework," said Dinniman. 

The plots are located on federally owned land that is controlled by the
Chester County Housing Authority and has been open to the public for 10
years. A first year gardener from the area would be allowed a 25 square foot
garden, with the promise for much more space after a successful trial run. 

"I understand my role as a government official to remind people that our
responsibility is to provide people with the means to do this," said
Dinniman. "All of us know that there is no reason for people to be hungry in
Chester County - it's simple - just get it and then distribute food."

The commissioner said that stocking canned foods and dry goods is
comparatively easy, rather than supplying the fresh vegetables that the
program does.

"When you think of what we can do with the land that just sits there, with a
little effort and some volunteers, we can feed, provide the opportunity to
garden," said Dinniman. 

The commissioner also said that several troubled youth are able to "find
themselves" through work at the garden.

Patty Sobecki, manager of Chester County Cares, presented Dinniman with a
scrapbook of new articles and correspondence that recounts that history of
the gleaning program.

"It's very important that we're able to keep our history," said the

Coordinator Doreen Pasekoff invited those who don't mind a bit of dirt
beneath their fingernails to visit the Fairview Street garden Tuesday nights
at 5:30 p.m. 

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

To post an e-mail to the list:  community_garden@mallorn.com

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