Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bringing it in the 05!

Yesterday the weather was absolutely gorgeous! We had planned a work day at the church and the focus was the grounds and the garden. I was afraid not many volunteers would show up. It was a perfect day to goof off! It has been so long since we had good weather.

We did end up having a great turn out. We cleared trash, down branches and weeds and also planted more greens, okra and squash.  We also planted several landscape plants that a friend had passed along. The new minister was there for a short while before he and his team departed for Ethiopia. I met some members of his leadership team and he had me explain aquaponics to them. They all seemed jazzed and ready to make it happen.

Good things are happening. It's about to bust lose in the '05! We are going City Farm scale and everyone will eat like kings!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All it takes is some salad and chard

Monday there was only a light mist. I had a meeting scheduled out at the church farm and noticed that the salad greens were ready for harvest. I wish I had taken a picture, they were beautiful!

I don't have any harvest baskets, I usually use empty baseball buckets that I steal from my husband my husband gives me. Monday I had not expected a harvest and did not come prepared. My daughter had left her sewing basket in my van so I used it. She was not pleased later when she found her sewing supplies stuffed in her brothers old backpack, but if t is left in my van I view it as community property.

The chard also was ready for a second cutting. I was so excited. I had checked everything on Saturday and I thought it wouldn't be ready for the Monday night meal that is served at the church. I love surprises and so do the kitchen workers!

When the kitchen workers arrived to prepare the meal Monday afternoon, they were greeted by a kitchen full of fresh from the garden produce. One of the ladies started to tear up at the sight of the greens.

She hadn't had fresh greens  in so long. The people who serve at the church are from the community. They face the same hardships as the people they serve. They truly demonstrate how to love one's neighbor, even if that neighbor threw a concrete block through their car window or stole their son's bike.

The woman told me as she was preparing the chard that it is good for people with diabetes. Her doctor had told her that in some animal studies that it was shown to help regulate sugar. I don't know if there really is science to back that claim up, but I know that good fresh veggies are good for everyone!

It truly is an honor to work in this community.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Feeding people and riding bicycles

My husband published the letter we are sending out to raise support for our community garden fundraiser on his blog a few days ago. I'm way behind with this blog, but I wanted to share with my readers as well so I am going to post his letter here too. I will be driving the support car for this ride. I am so proud of how hard all of our riders have been training! 

Dear friends, family, and partners in ministry,

I am writing to you because I am involved in an exciting ministry with 
The Rock / La Roca’s Community Garden and Hunger Ministries and it
needs your help.

The Rock / La Roca’s Community Garden is in its fifth year and is in the
process of growing. In fact, it has seen growth in each year of its
existence. This growth has enabled us to produce larger and larger 
quantities of fresh produce that feeds the hungry in our community. 
Within the next year we have the opportunity to quadruple the amount
of food that we are able to produce.  

The Rock / La Roca’s Community Garden and Hunger Ministries currently
serves over two hundred families in the community. This is done through
the Monday night dinner that is offered, our summer feeding program
for children, and the baskets of fresh food we send home with Monday 
night diners and deliver to shut ins and others in need. This year we also 
have the opportunity to partner with Arlington Elementary School and help
them establish  their own garden.

The Rock / La Roca’s Community Garden and Hunger Ministries also partners
with gardeners, local farmers, and the Lexington Farmer's Market in order to 
provide huge amounts of fresh food to the hungry. These partnerships include 
organizations like Faith Feeds (, a local
gleaning group that collects donations from local farmers and distributes them
to emergency food agencies; InFeed (, a 
group whose mission is to use vacant urban land to grow food for the hungry; 
and Seadleaf (, a group whose mission is to give 
people a chance to grow food, to cultivate an appreciation for healthy, local, 
nutritious food, and to promote availability of such food by installing and 
maintaining gardens in and around Lexington.

As The Rock / La Roca’s Community Garden has grown over the years so have the 
costs of operating it. The greatest current needs are money for equipment and 
infrastructure. The biggest obstacle in the production of food in the garden is 
water. We simply do not have adequate access to water nor do we have 
adequate irrigation equipment. This limits what can be grown, when it can be 
grown, and where it can be grown.

We are looking to add a water line, tap and meter, and a drip irrigation 
system to the lot that we use. This will allow us to maximize our yield 
of fresh healthy fruits and vegetables for the community while responsibly 
using water, our most precious resource on the planet. The cost of adding 
this will be approximately $4000. We also have other equipment and 
infrastructure costs that we need to raise money for, including tools 
(rakes, hoes, shovels, etc.) for site preparation, seeding and harvest; harvest 
bins for carrying produce from the field; stakes and twine for supporting 
pepper and tomato plants; and canning equipment for processing surplus 
harvest for use after the growing season.

Finally, we would like to be able to hire some teenagers from the 
community to help with the garden this summer. This will allow for them 
to earn some pocket money, stay out of trouble and gain some work 
experience that will aid them in the future.

As a ministry that works primarily with the urban poor we do not have 
the financial resources at present to fulfill our vision for this ministry 
and to accomplish what we believe that God is calling us to do. This is 
where you come in.

In order to raise money and awareness for this cause some of us who 
work with the garden and feeding ministries have decided to ride our 
bicycles to this year’s Kentucky United Methodist Annual Conference. 
On Tuesday, June 7 we will gather at The Rock / La Roca United Methodist 
Church in North Lexington and mount our bicycles. We will ride from there 
to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky. That’s 
over 80 miles of riding.

I ask that you partner with us to achieve our goals. Whether through prayer 
or financial support as a sponsor, I would like you to please join us. If you 
would like to be a prayer partner by all means do so. You can start praying 
right now! All of riders, including myself are currently training and covet 
your prayers for our safety and a successful ride. If you would like to make 
a donation to this ministry, please send your check (made payable to 
The Rock / La Roca UMC and designated “Community Garden Fund”) to:

The Rock / La Roca United Methodist Church
1015 North Limestone
Lexington, KY 40505

I thank you for prayerful consideration and for your support.


Tom Baker

Friday, May 13, 2011

I'm Back!!

After a month of record breaking rains, the sun came out just as finals ended. I hit the ground running and have had no time to blog. It looks like the weather is turning again and I will make an effort to catch everyone up on what has been going on.

The basic bullet version:

Almost killed 500 tomato plants and 200 pepper plants due to an irrigation failure.

Had a workday with the majority of allotment holders in one of the gardens I manage.

Distributed seeds to many friends, neighbors and strangers.

Worked with the local water company on the irrigation project at the church.

Wrote a fundraising letter with my husband/partner in ministry for the bike ride next month that will benefit the garden at the church.

Aced all of my courses for the semester!!