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World Renew, an international community development and disaster response organization based in Grand Rapids, MI, recently announced its community garden grant recipients.

The Food & Faith Growing Project is a pilot program designed to help faith-based organizations in West Michigan use community gardens as an entry point to connecting with their neighborhoods as well as

  • Start or re-energize a successful community garden / growing project in a way that contributes to asset-based community development

  • Dialogue around issues of local and global hunger, food security, creation care, and immigration

  • Produce healthy food that will benefit those in need

The matching grant provides technical assistance through Urban Roots. Host sites will receive

  • garden help every step of the way, from seed to putting the garden to bed for winter

  • Regular site visits and on-site leadership and education for your community members

  • Access to high quality garden tools and expert food growing knowledge

  • Guidance with the physical work of building beds, weeding, and transplanting

  • Solutions for harvesting and distributing the food produced in your space

  • Classes on Cooking, food preservation, etc.

  • Regular (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) facilitated group dialogues around topics that deepen our understanding of our relationships to the natural world, our neighbors, and the divine

The grants were awarded to the following recipients:

All Saints Academy Middle School, Grand Rapids

C A Frost Elementary Environmental Science Academy (in partnership with Westview Christian Reformed Church), Grand Rapids

Covenant Community Church (in partnership with Community enCompass' McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm), Muskegon Heights

Fuller Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids

Trinity Christian Reformed Church, Grandville

“We are starting our second year of a school community garden. The ASA students have been working hard planting seedlings and turning over the garden space. We are excited to redesign and use our resources better, hoping that we will have even more produce,” said Miss Abby Giroux, Middle School Principal at All Saints Academy. “We are excited to partner with World Renew and Urban Roots! Our hope is that working with these two great organizations will help us improve our garden management, use of space and ultimately improve our productivity. We are also really excited to begin reaching beyond ASA with our garden work and look forward to the educational outreach and building community connection.”

“Although the garden as it is has been very enjoyable for many and had a lot of success, we found that the work involved in each passing year in controlling the weeds was getting to be too much for many of the participants. The burden of the work was outweighing the joy of the harvest for some,” said Kathy Jelsema, Manager of Education & Congregational Life at Trinity CRC. “We hope that this project will provide a new model and a lot of new methods and ideas that will make the gardening more enjoyable again and help us focus more on the relationships with the other gardeners.”

Lessons learned throughout the pilot project will be shared at and

For more information contact Wendy Hammond, Church Relations Manager for World Renew, [email protected] or 616-224-5892.

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