Friday, April 27, 2012

South Side Garden and Farmers Market

It was only a couple of months ago that Pastor Karl Eckhoff of the neighboring Christ Lutheran Church -- Christ and Zion have been about three blocks apart for since the 1890s -- called me to ask if Zion might be interested in patcipating in a community garden. My response was along the lines of, "We're not in the position to offer much labor, but what other ways can we help?"

Turns out the garden was actually established last year at Logan Park (just a couple of blocks away) by the gitm Foundation ("gitm" is for "Gifts in the Moment") in association with the Peoria Park District, Garfield Elementary School (which is next to the park), and with support from other area businesses and agencies. The kids of the school and park would have the opportunity for hands-on learning about food and nutrition, and some produce and spices would be available in the neighborhood.

Everything was looking good until the school district rather suddenly decided to close Garfield School. But Christ Lutheran School also borders Logan Park, and this winter Denise and Kim from gitm approached the school to see if they might be interested in becoming a stakeholder in Garfield's place. Turns out this has been a win-win solution, and this winter and spring plans were devised to enlarge the garden and begin an Urban Farmers Market. Amazingly, everything has come together quite well to move the ideas into reality.

Zionites are helping provide seeds and seedlings, one of our members is with me on the board and has been very helpful in getting other area Lutherans on board, and the last couple of Saturdays I helped put up a fence and put a dirt mixture in the garden beds. Yesterday was a ribbon cutting for the garden and urban farmers market, with speakers from the gitm Foundation, the Peoria Park District, Illinois American Water, a song from the school children, and where I offered a prayer and blessing.

Here's the news report that aired yesterday on WEEK-TV, Channel 25:

Or read and view it here.

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