Rising from an unlikely neighborhood, smack in the center of town, the St. Therese Community Garden stands as a fitting parable, a successful beautification project and an excellent source of good, clean food.
Built in conjunction with Goodwill Grows, and spearheaded by chairperson Andy Somers, the 20-plot garden has completely transformed a sad, empty playground into a thriving, colorful, bustling garden.
Neighbors working alongside parishioners tilled, planted, watered, weeded and watched their small plots burst forth. The gardens not only look beautiful, with their preening sunflowers and corn stalks, bright red tomato and pepper plants and rows of lettuce leaves, they also offer healthy alternatives to people who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
One long plot, dedicated to the St. Joe’s Food Pantry, already has yielded good crisp vegetables that will be delivered today and throughout the rest of the harvest season.
I wandered through the gardens this weekend, and met up with St. Therese parishioner Elias, who gave me both a tour and a taste of his thriving plot. He offered me a handful of his first fruits, beautiful cherry tomatoes and a crisp, seedless cucumber and, touched, I gratefully accepted.
It’s been an excellent growing season for the St. Therese Community Gardeners, a sweetly improbably mix of gardeners and grandmas, greenhorns and green thumbs, planters and priests.
Small fruit trees optimistically line the garden’s front line, and green space for more plots remains. There are ambitious plans for a bee hive and green house.
For now, though, the garden stands in celebration of every gardener’s favorite verse. “Ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you.”