It has been a decade since Harmony Springs Christian Church made the decision to sell their building in downtown Akron, OH and purchase a nine-acre lot in nearby Green, OH. After worshiping in rented spaces during the intervening years, the congregation was excited to move into their brand-new facility in October 2021. The new property provides the church with opportunities for growth. Growth in membership… and vegetables.
“Once we purchased 9 acres of farmed land for our future church site we started looking for ways we could do as much good as possible with this asset. Growing Hope Globally was the perfect partner for us to connect a local growing project with an opportunity for global impact,” said Lead Pastor Joel Engman.
Although their building was still under construction, the congregation already had a community garden on their new property in 2021. They have plans to expand the garden to a 100 x 200 space for the 2022 growing season. One section is a giving garden where produce is grown for contribution to a local food pantry. Another area is divided into community garden plots which are reserved for individual families in the church and community, giving them the opportunity to grow their own food. The church also provides workshops on sustainable vegetable cultivation as part of their community outreach efforts. Still another area of the garden will be used for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program where people will purchase an annual “share” and receive a portion of whatever produce is available each week. A percentage of the fees from the CSA as well as the proceeds from the church’s “maker’s store”, which features products from local artisans, will benefit Growing Hope Globally.
“Our mission of addressing food insecurity in our community through sustainable, small-scale agriculture, really mirrors what Growing Hope Globally is doing throughout the world. We are all working toward the common goal of self-sufficiency and independence by creating a connection to the land. It really seems like a natural partnership for us,” said Kristy Doering, Assistant Garden Director.
“As our local project has taken off we love that Growing Hope Globally has given us the opportunity to form a relationship with partners in Paraguay. I find myself saying over and over we’re growing local and making a global impact,” commented Engman.