Wednesday, June 04, 2008

On the Grow at Church

As frequent visitors to this blog know, I am a foodie. And I am also a proponent of locally grown produce and meat -- which can be frustrating in a part of my state where people frankly get more excited over the prospect of a new Wal-Mart.

As I was pondering this dilemma the other evening, and also thinking about our pastor's suggestion that all of us who garden plant a little extra to give away, to help stretch our neighbors' food dollars, the thought struck me: Why don't we help people in our congregation and surrounding neighborhood who grow produce or other food products hook up with people who want food products, and let them negotiate their own prices, if any? We as the church would simply provide some bulletin board space for people to list their "haves" and "wants" -- kind of a low-tech Craig's List.

I sent out an e-mail to some church folks tentatively floating my idea, and immediately got a response from someone who noted that in his household they regularly let much of their raspberry crop go to waste because they simply don't have time to can or freeze it. He thought this was a great idea. My pastor replied, "This is great -- run it up the flagpole!"

So I think I will.


David said...

Another great idea. We have our own little farmer's table at our church where people share their homegrown veggies, but making them available to the needy in the community is perhaps the best course. Thanks for the suggestion.

LutheranChik said...

We've done something along that sort too -- just had people drop their extra zucchini or whatnot off at the picnic table next to the church. I'm thinking that adding the option of letting people buy and sell from one another will help the seller earn a little spending money while helping the buyer obtain nutritious food right in the neighborhood, one hopes for a competitive or better price than what's in the supermarket (15 miles away). For instance -- I want to make rhubarb crisp one of these days -- I'd rather pay for rhubarb from someone's neglected "hereditary" rhubarb patch out in the back yard than go to the supermarket and buy it from who knows where. They get folding money; I get my rhubarb.;-)

chartreuseova said...

Sounds like a great idea. Especially at a time when lots of families could use the few extra dollars.

I laughed and thought of you today. We were at the library and I looked up to see a T-shirt with a cute baby chick and the words "Lutheran Chick" (rather than Chik) emblazoned on the front. I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised. The library is across the street from a Lutheran church.

Teri said...

We have something like this called "Share the Bounty"--people bring their stuff (everything from plants at the beginning of the season to fruit and veggies as they come in) and put them out. Everything is a free-will donation, and all the money goes to our local homeless shelter's feeding ministry. It's remarkably successful and funds our portion of the feeding ministry for the entire fall/winter that the shelter's open.

P.S. an after-thought said...

I like the donation somebody else mentioned.

Somebody at our church tried this once, but it didn't go. I think the problem was in the announcing, which I'm sure you'd be good at. So go for it and report.

Tom in Ontario said...

A few years ago we rototilled part of the church lawn and now each year we plant some tomatoes, peppers, beans, and cucumbers and donate the produce to our food bank.

I heard a host of a gardening show on a local radio station suggest that people plant a few extra plants in their gardens and give the proceeds to the food bank.

I like the idea of bringing your extra crop to church, letting people take what they want for a donation, and maybe giving what's left over to the food bank.