“To grow and share food with others in a garden is to enter a holy country. American spirituality is discovering itself anew as people of faith reconnect with the land. . . .
Soil [is] a sacrament: a physical manifestation of God’s presence, a channel of Divine grace.”
– Fred Bahnson, Soil & Sacrament
Blackburn Community Gardens is now Beatitude Gardens
For over a year I’ve been searching for a name that signifies what our garden project is all about, ecologically, socially and spiritually.
While meditating on the Sermon on the Mount, I found my answer. In the Beatitudes, Jesus expands what it means to be blessed–it is not the powerful, successful, wealthy–but the poor, the peacemakers, those who mourn, those who yearn for justice.
Ancient Israelites, like most traditional cultures, knew blessing primarily in terms of their relationship to the land–yet how often to modern Americans think of blessing as connected to the earth? The Beatitudes, likewise are rooted in the land: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”
At Beatitude Gardens we join in a wider food and faith movement that is returning to this ancient wisdom. What it means to bless and to be blessed includes what we eat, how we eat it, and who we eat it with.
We hope that you’ll join us this year in widening the circle of blessing.
— Matt Gundlach, Garden Coordinator
Our community garden mission: To be a demonstration plot for stewardship, community, education and service. Through community partnerships, we seek to provide a program that develops leaders in organic agriculture, integrates spirituality and faith, and distributes fresh food to address hunger in Todd and surrounding areas.
Under the leadership of the Community Garden Coordinator, we tend two plots of land in downtown Todd to feed neighbors in the High Country. Through this we are also able to provide vibrancy to “downtown” Todd–a demonstration plot of not only sustainable gardening techniques but the type of health and vitality we seek in the community.
Our Community Garden has several interconnected programs that make this possible.
Todd Community Work Days
Community gardening is a collaborative effort. We host Work Days on the 4th Saturday, May – September where we invite neighbors in Todd to join together for a Saturday to get our hands dirty and build relationships as we address hunger in our area.
We donated over 100 lbs of produce this year to local agencies and programs addressing food insecurity, including the Hunger and Health Coalition, The Hospitality House, and Green Valley School’s food pantry. For the 2016 season we are exploring an additional model, in which neighbors can purchase a low-cost CSA-style box of produce.
We offer garden internships to college students in the summer and fall. Our interns get a hands-on experience with sustainable gardening, as well as the opportunity for spiritual growth and learning about the intersections of faith, food and farming. Check out our garden internship page!
A Demonstration Plot
The gardens at the Blackburn House are steadily becoming a vibrant demonstration plot for the practices of ecological gardening. We seek to connect with both those who are new to gardening and those who’ve done it their whole lives. The garden is a place of learning: whether it’s how to integrate chickens into a garden or grow how to grow high yields in small spaces. We also strive to make it a demonstration of how we as communities can better steward the land and understand our faith in light of our dependence on it.
Alongside the teaching that happens as we work and eat together, we will be offering educational workshops and seminars on food and faith. Stay tuned!