Waynesboro church working to grow community garden

The Herald Mail, by Jennifer Fitch
April 26, 2011 

Church of the Apostles, United Church of Christ is offering free plots for people who want to grow food


WAYNESBORO, Pa. — A Waynesboro church is offering garden plots as an educational tool and an opportunity for people to grow their own food.

The United Church of Christ Church of the Apostles on Barnett Avenue is creating plots that are 10 feet by 10 feet and 20 feet by 20 feet. There is no cost to use a plot for the season, and space is available to anyone who asks.

The Bible is filled with agriculture and nature references related to lifestyles of that time, Pastor Michael Cromer said.

"Of course, it starts with a garden," he said of the Bible.

Cromer said he came to the church in March 2010. An avid organic grower, Cromer said he saw the church's available acreage and tapped into previous experience with community gardening.

The church created eight plots last year for individuals and groups, including a Girl Scout troop that earned urban gardening merit badges.

The drought in 2010 limited crops, but the Girl Scouts and others were able to grow things like tomatoes and melons, he said.

Community gardening received "a boost" from the White House garden and other national initiatives, Cromer said.

"I've seen how they bring people together," he said.

Soil testing conducted this year behind the church provided information on what nutrients need to be added by the gardeners. Cromer said those materials will be provided as will tools and a water supply.

The church has a rain barrel and compost barrel. It will soon add composting bins.

"Personally, I'd like to have a green church," Cromer said.

Cromer said he's happy organic produce is becoming more mainstream and readily available.

"I think there's more of an understanding of it," he said, noting that he wants to introduce children to healthy eating habits. "Maybe if they grow it themselves, they'll be more likely to eat it."

Now is the time to plant lettuce, peas, onions and broccoli, Cromer said.

To learn about the program or reserve a space, call Cromer at 717-816-2940.


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