Impact Story: Growing Food for the Community Meals

//Impact Story: Growing Food for the Community Meals
Impact Story: Growing Food for the Community Meals2017-08-05T12:37:45+00:00
Garden Construction

Garden Construction

Easter by the Lake is seeing some new growth (no, we’re not under construction again). The new growth comes in the form of three raised gardens and a lot of small veggie plants. It’s a small growth, but one Easter member and Eagle Scout hopeful knows the gardens will have a big impact on our community.

It all started with an idea. Jackson was looking for an Eagle Scout project and asked the church about possible projects. He originally planned to build a Gaga Ball pit, but someone had already started work on it. That’s when he got the idea. “I wanted to do the gardens as my project because I felt that it would be more beneficial for the church and the community,” said Jackson.

He started working on the project in late 2013 by envisioning the garden’s appearance and location. Time became an issue. Jackson said, “Due to my class schedule and other activities, the project start was delayed.”

Last October, Easter started a partnership with Loaves & Fishes, a local nonprofit serving meals to people in need. It was the perfect opportunity and the perfect timing for Jackson to reinvigorate his Eagle Scout project. He met with Pastor Brandon and Kimberly, the Loaves & Fishes site

Raised Gardens

Raised Gardens

coordinator at Easter. As fate would have it, Loaves & Fishes started setting up gardens throughout the Twin Cities, including at Easter, to provide fresh food at their meal sites.

Jackson provided the idea. Easter provided the land. The plot of land picked for the gardens had seen better days. After many months of heavy construction equipment, the north end of the Lake parking lot had been reduced to dirt littered with old, unused retaining wall blocks. The construction of the new patio left Easter with an overabundance of the large blocks.

Jackson had initially envisioned ten smaller wooden gardens. The resourceful Boy Scout seized the opportunity to reuse the retaining wall blocks. It meant he could construct two smaller wooden gardens and one larger garden.

During a warm July week, Jackson and 31 volunteers pulled together to create the gardens and complete his Eagle Scout project. He said, “It is a relief that I have this project done.It was a lot to handle in its planning and building stages.”

Construction was complete on the raised gardens, but they were still missing a key element.

Jackson and one of the finished gardens

Jackson and one of the finished gardens

Kimberly, from Loaves & Fishes, gathered a few volunteers to lay a path down the middle of the large garden. She eagerly started planting lettuce, peppers, sweet basil, celery, eggplant, parsley, and more. Also near the gardens are several plastic bins filled with growing potatoes. It’s now lovingly named the “Veggie Patch.”

The gardens are ready to make an impact at the Community Meals and in our community. “I believe this project is important to the community because it gives everyone an opportunity to get free, healthy meals no matter what their situation,” said Jackson. People coming to the Community Meals this fall can enjoy fresh food straight from the Easter Veggie Patch.