This ministry serves the parish and extended community by growing fresh vegetables and fruits annually for distribution to 'feed the hungry' within our community (on Sundays) and within local food banks and soup kitchens. We plant and maintain a growing orchard and Christmas tree farm. We also plant/maintain a perennial flower garden that is used to produce flowers for the church.
History of Risen Christ Catholic Community Garden
In 2006 we started gardening, expanding it over the years to include an orchard and vineyard. Our mission is to 'feed the hungry/poor' with fresh healthy produce as Jesus asked. We rapidly expanded the garden to its current size with the help of many Risen Christ Catholic Community members who felt this was a great way to use that gardening talent that God gave them...or to learn and grow. Families and individuals have changed over the years but our community has always been the driving force. Always their commitment has been their own as God calls them and/or their families.
After many outside requests to quantitate, we weighed our total production in 2009 and it was close to 6 tons of fresh vegetables. Since then we've added an orchard and a vineyard. Our distribution is done primarily through St. Vincent's Food Bank but we distribute to the Women's Shelter and Boise Mission on occasion. We also some years have had a distribution table after mass where parishioners can share as well.
Our call is to serve and gardening therefore became our 'ministry'. Weeb Martin is the primary organizer, but others have taken on the lead position on occasion. We work as individuals called in any one year (or week) to a ministry putting our love into action through our efforts. Allowing for where/what God inspires in us we have had many different events over the years. We've hosted the Risen Christ parish Welcome dinners using produce from our garden. We've had garden-sourced Salsa-making days -later selling the salsa that we put up. We have hosted several Halloween pumpkin-carving nights using pumpkins from our garden. We've even co-hosted a beautiful wedding reception in the garden! Part of growing is learning gardening principles but we also have taught bee-keeping, fruit tree pruning, and perennial flower gardening. We raise flowers for the church's use on Sundays.
In addition 9 years ago we decided to start a Christmas Tree farm using the unused weed-infested church grounds. This was an ambitious effort that took many hard-working members over years and many talents. Developing the irrigation alone was an incredible effort. Laying over 1000 feet of 3 inch pipe and thousands of feet of water-saving drip lines for the trees was a herculean feat.
In 2011 we planted over 350 trees with a similar or larger crop each year for 7 years. Following guidance from the extension service we first planted only Douglas fir , but over the years we have also planted grand fir, spruce and concolor fir. Our first Christmas tree harvest celebration finally came in 2019. It was glorious. Our goal was to have a warm family-focused event that emphasized more the celebration of Christ's birth, giving families the rare opportunity to share the advent of Christmas preparations together- hunting and cutting their own Christmas tree. We opened our church and served hot beverages and soup or chili to many grateful families while they participated in wreath-making or just listened to stories of our efforts. It has been very successful.
This year was difficult with the covid pandemic so we adjusted using fewer and younger staff with full CDC precautions (masks, distancing, etc) Families were happy to oblige. Though we couldn't have choirs, wreath-making, or hot soups, families were no less enthusiastic and grateful.
Our work is self-sustaining both in the garden ministry as well as the tree farm. No church funds are needed. I'd be glad to discuss those logistics during a tour of the garden.
In short God has given us many more 'talents' than most of us ever even try to develop. Using those talents in actions that express our love for all God's children is , I believe, one of the best prayers we can give back to God. We have fun doing it. In our ministry God has blessed us with many opportunities to grow side by side. When community members choose to join us they grow, and sometimes more than just vegetables.
This year will be one of our most exciting years. The need is so great and we have the means. Please join us in feeding the hungry as Christ asked us to do. We very much need your help. Contact Weeb Martin at 208-250-9556 for more information, a tour of the gardens or to sign up.
Our long awaited Christmas Tree Sale is almost here. Here are some pictures of the trees that will be available to decorate someone's Christmas home.
After the harvest it is time to spread the leaves over the ground so they become mulch and feed the plants and flowers that will come in the Spring. A dedicated crew came out to help. A special thank you to all of the marvelous volunteers that help maintain the gardens of Risen Christ Catholic Community.
Harvest time is a busy time. Thank you to all the superb volunteers who help to feed those less fortunate.
Even during the pandemic the garden grew in 2020.
No experience required. Open to all families who wish to help us follow Christ's directive of love through our actions (which in this case is gardening). We have fun working together as families and individuals throughout the growing season and focus on growing in Christ's love. Besides gardening, we also host dinners and classes (bee keeping, salsa canning, pruning, etc). We love seeing new families and accept the complexities of life's time commitments. Therefore our activities span throughout the week.
Weeb Martin, 208-250-9556