A small group of volunteers assisting the Seeds of Faith Community Garden in Brandon.

Come grab your shovels and garden gloves and make your way over to Bay Life Church’s Seeds of Faith Community Garden, located in Brandon right behind the church’s property, as the harvest season begins. Volunteer workdays will be occurring on the second Saturday of each month starting on Saturday, October 9 at 8 a.m. and go through June 2022. This season, 10 beds are available that need growers.

In 2010, the pastor’s wife at Bay Life Church and the executive director at ECHO (Emergency Care and Help Organization), Eleanor Saunders, along with Master Gardener Cindy Paulhus, founded the Seeds of Faith Community Garden. Since its establishment, more than 2,000 pounds of fresh produce have been donated to local food banks such as ECHO and Hope for Her.

Steve McKinnon, South County director at ECHO, mentioned why he chose to get involved with the Seeds of Faith Community Garden.

“I wanted to learn more about gardening and grow some vegetables in which I did not have a place,” McKinnon said. “To add, Paulhus was an inspiration as well,” he stated.

Paulhus passed away in 2019. McKinnon mentioned that within the same year Paulhus won the Outstanding Public and Community Service Award. He accepted it, along with a few others on her behalf.

What makes the garden unique is that it consists of two divided sections with individual grower beds and donation beds. For instance, the individual grower beds can be rented out to those who are interested in growing their own produce, while the donation beds are run by volunteers who then grow the produce to be donated to ECHO or Hope for Her.

It costs $35 to rent a bed, which requires a six-hour volunteer commitment per year. On the other hand, it costs $60 without volunteering. Students who work in the garden can earn community service hours.

“Overall, our garden is open to anyone who may be interested,” McKinnon said.

For more information, visit www.baylife.org/seeds-of-faith-community-garden/. Check out the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/seedsoffaithgarden or email missions@baylife.org.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.