Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
“We’re all about feeding the hungry … helping those in need.”
You hear Rick Fry say that a lot, and he means it.
That’s why his dream of starting a community garden in Allied Gardens is in the process of coming true, because he lives those words, and his congregation is right beside him in those efforts.
Fry is the pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church.
You might recall some months ago, when we covered a story about a small food bank he built alongside his property on 51st Street — a place where people who needed food could come and take what they needed.
It was a start, but Fry has dreamed of a garden where people could get involved in providing fresh-grown food.
On April 7, the initial planting in that garden happened, with a goodly crowd of church members and Allied Gardens citizens looking on and helping out.
The event also featured a table was set up by the Allied Gardens Benjamin Branch Library offering, among other things, little square cartons with seeds that children might want to plant in a planter box for the garden. People who brought trees for planting also gave out Frisbees for children to play with — making it a real community affair.
“This project just sort of took off after word got out about what we were trying,” Fry said. “We’ve had donations from places you might not expect — other area churches have donated money, especially Mission Trails Church, companies like Brightview Landscaping — the list goes on, and we’re very grateful.”
Shain Haug of the Allied Gardens Community Council says his group is very supportive of the effort.
“It’s really good to see this happen — I just wish it could be even bigger,” he said.
It very possibly could be.
The Latter Day Saints ward just north of the current garden has a good deal of land it hasn’t used for years, and there have been serious talks about making at least some of that land available for the garden’s use.
It’s a decision that would ultimately have to be made in Salt Lake City, but the possibility is there.
No one believes the Lutheran church can maintain the garden by itself, so there’s a way to help if you want.
You could lease a 4-by-10-foot plot in the garden for $100 a year, or you could maintain a fruit tree for $150 a year.
That goes all the way up to a golden sunflower patch for $1,000 a year.
The church needs a couple hundred feet of fencing, several garden hoses, shovels and hoes.
There will always be a need for willing people to come in and actually work in the garden, and Fry said he knows lots of people who like to grub in the dirt.
These days, there is a constant debate about what being a Christian really means — and who knows how many answers to that question.
This garden, and what it will provide to needy people, is as good a definition of Christianity as you’re going to find.
— Doug Curlee is Editor at Large. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.