Thursday, January 15, 2009

A garden's bottom line?

We're meeting tonight to plot the garden. I have these little orange flags on my desk and they're ready to be driven into the ground. We need a spot that balances light, visibility, and decent soil all without clearing trees or creating an eyesore in the fallow months. (possible site in photo - back of parking lot).

Our fruitful field is a project that I feel more and more passionate about as it grows.

But I admit some nervousness about it. In a church where we pride ourselves on using our money and time wisely, what's the benefit of a garden? We plan to give away at least some of what we raise. But with the amount of time and seed money we'll invest, we'd be able to buy organic veggies for all the food shelves in town.

We're not gardening to save on food. This community garden will take about $250 in start up costs. It will take people's energy and time. Cash is tight and we are pinching our pennies. So why invest in a new initiative that won't generate revenue?

Like many things that make spiritual sense, environmental sense, faithful sense, a community garden doesn't make economic sense.

But hey - we're the church! We're careful stewards of our money, but we have some strange ideas about what makes economic sense here. Certainly no one is paying my salary because I'm making them money. We don't teach other people's children because we're paid. We don't gather for worship because we know it will make a profit.

There's a different bottom line at work here. It's the life abundant.

Community. Connection. Peace. Fresh air. The joy of watching something grow. The satisfaction of outwitting the deer. The delight of giving the fruit of your labor away for free. The casual conversation that happens while weeding. The unmistakable flavor of a tomato plucked off the vine.

Even if that tomato costs $20 in manure, soil and labor, it's worth it. Okey -back to the map. Hope to eat a tomato from our ground in August. That's a miracle, no?

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