“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
To be a demonstration plot for small-scale, regenerative agriculture that educates young leaders, builds community, and increases food access in Todd and surrounding areas.
Our Vision: A community that cares for the earth, cares for people, and shares the harvest.
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 Volunteer Days
Gardening here is a collaborative effort. We host Work Days on the 4th Saturday, May – October where we invite neighbors in Todd to join together for a Saturday to get our hands dirty and build relationships with neighbors.
We have donated produce to local families and local agencies and programs addressing food insecurity, including the Hunger and Health Coalition, The Hospitality House, and Green Valley School’s food pantry. In 2017, we expanded our efforts beyond mere relief in the launching of Todd’s Table, a market stand currently located in the BCUMC parking lot.
We offer garden internships to college students in the summer and fall. Our interns get a hands-on experience with ecological gardening, as well as the opportunity for personal growth and learning about the intersections of faith, food and farming. Check out our garden internship page!
A Demonstration Plot
Beatitude Gardens has always been a vibrant demonstration plot for the practices of ecological gardening–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.
In 2017 we took this a step further, implementing a permaculture design plan for the entire grounds of Blackburn’s Chapel: creating orchards, a food forest, a rain garden, and a contemplative trail through the woods. This is an ongoing project with new projects to complete in the year to come–and we invite you to join us in the transformation!
Alongside the teaching that happens as we work and eat together, we occasionally offering educational workshops and seminars. Stay tuned!