By Kye Saunders
The Seeds of Faith Community Garden, located in the backyard of Baylife Church in Brandon, is ready to start summer off right with a chance for families to grow their own crops not only for themselves but for their community.
What makes Seeds of Faith more than just your average community garden is the duality of its purpose.
Not only can families rent a bed for their own personal use, but its dedicated team of volunteers tend, harvest and donate fresh produce from the garden’s community plots to different organizations that are locally fighting hunger.
Since its opening in 2010, Seeds of Faith has donated over 20,000 pounds of fresh produce to local food pantries. One of those pantries being ECHO (Emergency Care and Help Organization), which has locations both in Brandon and Riverview.
When asked what makes Seeds of Faith different from some of ECHO’s other produce providers, ECHO’s Riverview center director, Steve McKinnon, stated, “The garden gives us locally grown fresh produce and, from November until summer, is a weekly fresh produce provider for us.”
ECHO has already received 3,000 pounds of fresh produce from the garden’s most recent growing season.
“Forty-eight of those beds you can rent to individuals, but the other half goes to ECHO,” said McKinnon. “Those volunteer beds go a long way.”
This summer is the chance for your family to have one of those 48 beds by becoming a grower.
The garden will provide each grower with water, topsoil and mulch, and each gardener is responsible for planting, weeding and harvesting their own bed.
The cost to rent a bed is $35 with six volunteering hours or $60 without volunteering hours.
Those six hours of volunteering, as well as the rent collected from individual growers, is used to plant, maintain and harvest the donated produce.
There is a limited supply of beds remaining, so anyone interested in renting a bed this summer should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Seeds of Faith on Facebook for updates on what is being grown and different volunteer opportunities through the garden.