The White Lake Community Garden at which has already produced more food this year than in its inaugural season in 2010, will continue to flourish into October or later.
“Last year this was a small and focused project,” said Colleen Thompson, project manager of the community garden. “This year we have a broad team. This season, we’ve had about 75 volunteers.”
In 2010, Calvary delivered 1,200 pounds of food from the garden to soup kitchens, food banks and the Open Door Outreach Center in Waterford.
“We grew a lot of tomatoes and zucchini last year," Thompson said. "This year, we’ve done around 1,400 pounds and there’s a much better variety.” Calvary’s 2011 crop has consisted of beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, squash, lettuce and a variety of other vegetables.
“Last year, we were learning and didn’t have the expert guidance,” Thompson said. The 2010 season wrapped up by the end of September, but with the help of four gardening authorities, this year's growing season is expected to extend through October or early November.
“Two are members of the church and two are official master gardeners from the Master Gardener Program, but they are not members of the church,” Thompson said. The Michigan Master Gardener Program, offered by Michigan State University Extension, is a horticulture education and volunteer leader training program.
“They’ll adjust the watering and they know what kind of water and soil to use on the plants,” Thompson said. “The master gardeners have been deeply engaged in spending hours in the garden every week. I know they enjoy being out in the garden, but they also have a passion for feeding hungry people in the community. (The community garden) combines the love they have for gardening and their interest in helping people.”
With the assistance of many volunteers, Calvary was able to have a second planting and use protective covering to extend the 2011 season. A biblical garden has also been added on the church property.
“We’re looking for plants that have been mentioned in the Bible,” Thompson said. “It adds a little history and ties into the fact that we are partially sponsored by the church.” While the garden began with Calvary, its growth has been made possible through the sponsorship of many private donors and local businesses.
Community garden donors are:
- American Erectors
- Geoff Hunter
- JP Lawn Sprinklers
- LaFontaine Cadillac
- Master Gardener
- Heiress Compost
- Huron Valley Optimist
- Robinson Fencing Company
- Chelsey Sclesky
- Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
- Twin Oaks Farm
Although Thompson played a significant role in the establishment of the garden, she said its success can be attributed to dozens of volunteers and the devotion of the community.
“It’s definitely a team effort,” she said. “Without them, we would be nowhere. Anyone can be part of the garden, part of church or both.” At its core, the purpose of the garden is to follow the guidance of Christ.
“Every other word you hear quoted from Jesus in the Bible is about taking care of those among you," Thompson said. "I think this speaks directly to that by providing food for those who don’t have it.”
To be part of the White Lake Community Garden, contact Colleen Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.