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BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN GARDENERS AT WORK — Members and friends of Glenwood Presbyterian Church pause during a workday Sept. 8 at the community garden the church is preparing to share with the community. At right is Pastor Larry Cuthill with his wife, Patti Cuthill. From left the volunteers are Paul Bassett, John Kuharcin, Bud Fraser, Donna DeMeglio, Roberta Johnson and Ralph Adams. A meeting for anyone interested in the garden is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at the church, 3190 Grand Ave.

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”
— 2 Corinthians 9:6

Glenwood Presbyterian Church intends to sow bountifully in its small community, launching a community garden where Glenwood neighbors can spend time in the fresh air, get to know one another and grow themselves some healthful food.

Pastor Larry Cuthill said the idea came about five months ago, as church members were asking themselves how best to serve the Lord and their community.

“It’s not new,” Cuthill said. “Other churches and organizations have offered space, guidance and materials for a ‘community garden.’”

On land next door to the church, Glenwood Presbyterian volunteers have built raised beds consisting of 4-foot-by-8-foot wooden boxes filled with enriched soil. Church trustees budgeted about $2,000 to launch the garden.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN
SOIL PREP — Glenwood Presbyterian Church volunteers Bud Fraser and Donna DeMeglio prepare soil in the raised beds at the church’s community garden, during a workday Sept. 8.

“It’s been a big project for a little church, but we’re very proud of it now,” Cuthill said.

Church members are hopeful that the garden area will erupt into a feast of tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, broccoli and an assortment of other vegetables, with blessings that extend beyond the gardeners themselves, Cuthill said.

“Imagine sharing your surplus with those who have little in the way of fresh veggies — the homeless and hungry,” he said.

The garden has been outfitted with an electrified fence to keep out bears, deer, raccoons, armadillos and other vegetable-eating and vegetable-crushing critters. A small number of hydroponic growing boxes will be available, in addition to the soil-filled boxes.

The gardening spaces will be offered to church and community members for a rental fee of $40 a year.

“The charge covers water piped to each box, enriched soil, fences, electricity and construction. If the boxes are well-received — i.e., if there is more demand than supply — we will likely expand,” Cuthill said.

The garden will be overseen by a committee of church members and perhaps a few volunteers from the community.

An initial meeting of interested parties will be held at the church, 3190 Grand Ave., at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, to kick off the program. 

“At that meeting, the concept will be explained, the rules set and the opportunity offered to rent a box, one per family unit,” Cuthill said.

Initially, 11 soil-filled boxes and four to six hydroponic boxes will be available. If demand should exceed supply, Cuthill said, a drawing will be organized to assign the first boxes, until more can be built.

“Let this be a place of peace that provides the satisfaction of growing healthful, delicious food, promotes a sense of community among the participants, and contributes to the needs of others with hunger issues,” the pastor said.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN
GLENWOOD GOTHIC — Pastor Larry Cuthill, right, and Paul Bassett are ready to work on the community garden at Glenwood Presbyterian Church. The church plans to rent raised beds — complete with soil, irrigation and fencing — to members of the community for growing food.

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