All produce is given to the Interfaith Food Pantry of Morris County
The Saint Mark Giving Garden began with a 10’ X 10’ plot in the Fall of 2009. Herbs, mixed greens, arugula, cilantro and radishes were planted. A yield of 57 bags of produce were given to the Interfaith Food Pantry.
In 2010 a few more beds 10’ X 4’ were added as well as peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, green beans and wax beans. The yield was 250 pounds.
During the spring and summer of 2011 the Giving Garden plots were expanded to twice the size of 2010. The yield was 475 pounds of fresh produce that was given to the Interfaith Food Pantry which included various lettuces and fresh herbs, carrots, kale, arugula. All types of tomatoes, tomatillos, various types of squash and cucumbers, just to name a few. In addition to the expansion of the garden plots, additional fencing was added to prevent against burrowing animals. A peace pole was installed and dedicated in the fall of 2011 as a part of Sunday school Rally Day activities. The Peace Pole is a gathering place for meditation and quiet contemplation. Its proximity to the Giving Garden gives the workers a spot to rest for a moment and consider the tasks completed and those still in progress.
In 2012 our Giving Garden was again expanded to include three 14’ X 14’ beds to especially accommodate plants that grow on a vine. Our yield grew to 750 pounds! The variety was staggering: zucchini, Swiss chard, kale, basil, parsley, beets, peppers of all kinds, broccoli, eggplant, acorn squash, yellow squash, tomatoes, tomatillos, green beans, peas, and various herbs.
We continued to expand the variety of fruit and vegetables in 2013. In addition to the above we added cheese (pie) pumpkins, strawberries, okra, cauliflower, cabbage watermelons, and potatoes. The yield continued to grow to 1,497 pounds.
By 2014 we gained a greater understanding of how to maximize the growing season. Our garden consists of all of the above fresh produce. The yield was 1,628 pounds.
Some plants are begun as seeds planted in grow stands in the winter and some are purchased as small plants. Planting begins as soon as possible after the last frost in April/May and continues throughout the summer until the first frost of November. Harvesting is done as needed and almost daily during the summer.
The ELCA promotes God’s Work, Our Hands. Truly this is evident here at Saint Mark. None of this could have happened without the dedication of many of Saint Mark’s members. Whether tilling or planting or watering or weeding or harvesting or delivering – each person has played a vital role. The clients of the Interfaith Food Pantry have benefited from our work and we have benefited from having the privilege of serving others. Thank you to one and all.
God’s Love (and Produce) has grown in the Saint Mark Giving Garden!