Spring has sprung and Bally Mennonite Church members are hard at work preparing God’s Acre Community Organic Garden for this year’s crops. Located at Bally Mennonite Church on Route 100, the garden consists of several individual plots and a large community plot.
Members of the church are looking for volunteers to help grow this year’s produce, which is then donated to Open Line Food Bank in Pennsburg. Members of the community are also invited to grow their own vegetables and flowers via the individual plots available.
The community garden was created in 2009 to serve as place to grow and enjoy nature. Nancy Hopkins has been a member of the Bally Mennonite Church for twenty years. She has been at the forefront of the garden since its creation and enjoys seeing communities come together for a common cause.
“The most rewarding thing for me is seeing children get excited about being in the garden,” said Hopkins. “Also being together with others – other volunteers, working together, then sharing a snack, or meeting up with people who have plots, talking about what they are growing, what their plans are for their gardens.”
As the warmer weather rolls in, the congregation likes to hold service in the garden, known as Garden Sunday.
“We usually have a garden-related theme, like caring and appreciating creation,” said Hopkins. “We have music and activities for the children, like making miniature gardens, or art for the garden.”
The garden is also known for some of its other attractions such as a butterfly garden, pond, herb garden, a campfire circle, and a Peace Pole. However, the main attraction is the large community garden that produces several hundred pounds of produce each year.
“We work together to grow vegetables, flowers, and fruit to give to the food banks,” Hopkins said. “The garden is also a place to encourage wildlife and to enjoy nature.”
According to Hopkins, donating to Open Line Food Bank is the church’s first priority when it comes to the garden. However, they have donated to Boyertown Multiservice and Second Harvest in the past. Last year, the church donated over 550 pounds of produce to local food banks and Hopkins is hopeful that they will be just as successful this year.
“If we have more people we can grow more to donate, add other crops, and think of other ways we can benefit the community,” said Hopkins.
In an effort to reach this year’s goal, Hopkins and other members of the church are reaching out for volunteers. People who have their own plots are also being asked to donate some of their time to help with the community plot. Those who wish to volunteer or donate can visit the God’s Acre Community Garden website.