It stimulates social interaction, encourages self-reliance, helps people learn about civic participation and grows leaders, helps reduce stress and teaches patience, creates opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education. Sounds like an excerpt from a Drug and Alcohol treatment facility promotional brochure! Actually, it is a partial list of the many benefits of community gardening or greening. Men from Jaywalker Lodge had the opportunity to work with community and church members in the Carbondale Community United Methodist Church’s Community Garden this weekend. We participated in a “Double Dig” in which the soil is overturned and rotated to increase fertility and spread nutrients. Melanie Hughes, pastor of the Carbondale Methodist Church, stated that the mission of the Community Garden is to foster spiritual and physical enrichment for the church community and its neighbors in the setting of a small-scale agricultural project. All who volunteer benefit from the intangible gains of the project: fellowship, education, and spiritual enrichment. As the garden produces a physical yield it will be shared among those who volunteer, congregation members in need, and with the community at large through Lift Up. Lift Up is a non-profit organization which operates food pantries, the Extended Table Soup Kitchen, and thrift stores in Carbondale and surrounding communities. We Jaywalkers are grateful to have the opportunity to expand our relationships with community organizations that encourage service, empathy, and understanding.
Alumni Coordinator and Community Gardener