Community garden ministry addresses temporal, spiritual needs
Published: July 18, 2012
CEDAR LAKE, Ind. (CNS) -- What might seem to some as merely an opportunity to play in the dirt, for the Holy Name community garden ministry, it is a way to bring Catholic social teachings to life in a practical way. When Nan Onest, pastoral associate at Holy Name, heard about a similar community garden project sponsored by a church in Chicago, she felt it was something the parish community might fully embrace. "Care of the earth is one of the seven principles of Catholic social teaching and I saw this as an 'outside-of-the-box' teaching moment," Onest told the Northwest Indiana Catholic, newspaper of the Gary Diocese. At least 12 volunteers stepped forward to help in the initial stages. That number continues to grow, according to Onest. With the blessings of Franciscan Father Ed Tlucek, pastor, a 1,000-square-foot plot of land on the parish campus was originally designated for the project. That, too, has increased, Onest said. Vegetables, ranging from tomatoes to peppers, beans, carrots, cabbage, onions, cucumbers, radishes and assorted herbs, are being grown as organically as possible. "Everything is more nutritious fresh out of the garden," noted Tom Lautenschlager, one of the founding members of the group. Lautenschlager started many of the seedlings planted by the group from seed at home. Other parishioners were encouraged to pick up a packet of seeds from the back of church and do likewise. "Think about the yield you can get out of a packet of seeds," Lautenschlager said. "This is a very inexpensive project with the potential for a high yield."
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