About four years ago the Presbyterian Church in Kennett, MO had a seminar to discuss how they could be more involved in the community, especially with the elderly and families at risk. One member suggested a Community Garden, and soon seven acres of land was donated for the project. Businesses and organizations began donating supplies, including a tractor, two large wells, storage building, cultivator, seeds, and small garden tools. First Christian Church became a sponsoring congregation from the beginning by offering funds, and the last two years they helped supply bottled water for those working in the Garden.
Those who work in the Community Garden serve as volunteers, harvesting produce for themselves and an equal amount for the elderly and those who cannot harvest for themselves. The Garden provides a sense of community as people share recipe ideas for purple hull peas and talk about other ways to utilize the produce. Ex-offenders can serve their volunteer hours in the Garden, providing them with meaningful work while enjoying the outside atmosphere. The Garden also provides a means of physical activity and exercise, emphasizing the Healthy Schools-Healthy Communities project that strives to reduce childhood obesity.
During the past year the Caring Council built a Community Kitchen to serve as a teaching kitchen, inviting children and adults throughout the year to learn healthy cooking and eating habits. During the summer the Community Kitchen utilizes garden produce in its instruction, helping participants learn how to prepare healthy foods from the Garden, with plans to offer canning classes in the future.
Last summer First Christian Church partnered with First Presbyterian Church and the Caring Council to host Wonderful Wednesdays by rotating between their facilities for active games and healthy snacks, along with a day of harvesting experience in the Community Garden. First Christian is already in conversation for another summer of Wonderful Wednesdays in Kennett!
Story and photo courtesy of FCC in Kennett pastor
Rev. Dr. Doug Cripe.