The St. Vincent de Paul Conference at St. Ann’s in Marietta recently established a “Frederic’s Farm” garden to supplement their SVdP Food Pantry that has been in operation for over 40 years. The garden is an innovative way to bring conference members together on a purpose to help their clients and help raise awareness to their parish of the good works with their parishioners.
“We have 4 raised planters containing a total of 27 plants. We are growing squash – zucchini and summer, peppers – jalapeno (many of our families like spicy) and a variety of sweet bell, tomatoes – different varieties of cherry and slicer, and cucumbers – pickling, Japanese and burpless. We will also be adding some pots of herbs this week,” said Karen Miller who is the creator of Frederic’s Farm and who is also in charge of the food pantry.
The opening of the garden was a true team effort by Conference members, Betsy Van Etten (Conference President), Kathy Gist, Barbara McLoughlin, and Karen Miller. “Our vision is to have fresh vegetables and herbs year-round to share with the families that visit our Food Pantry. We also plan to add fruit to the garden in a coming season,” Karen said.
The Fresh produce at the garden will provide vitamins and minerals that are important for everyone. For families with children, good nutrition is essential and plays an important role in their development and ability to learn. The garden is helping families be able to offer a healthy diet that will impact both their children’s academic achievement and overall life.
“Access to healthy (especially fresh) food can be a challenge to families with limited resources. Often the lack of good nutrition over time can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Being able to offer fresh produce will help in the management and prevention of these diseases.” said Karen.
“I have been blessed to serve in our Pantry for a number of years. During this time, I have gotten to know many of the families personally and experienced different health crisis with them. The inspiration for Frederic’s Farm was the hope to offer healthy and fresh choices that could help someone feel better, manage a health condition or provide their children with a healthy start. Our hope is for the garden to be a community effort and to share the joy in feeding families in need.” – Karen Miller
How Can You Help?
Outreach ministry, Food Well Alliance was able to give the Conference a lot of good advice on starting the garden. Here are some great ways that you can help as well:
There are many ways that you can get involved at the garden. The Conference will need people to help with the maintenance of the garden including planting, watering, weeding and of course picking all of the vegetables when they are ready! They are also asking people to send recipes to share with clients and their families, using items that are being grown and staples that they always have at the Pantry.
Another way that you can help and also donate is to plant a row or a pot at home to share with the Pantry. The Pantry also has a team of volunteers ready to pick up your vegetables if you are not able to get to the Pantry to drop off.
Garden Contact Information:
(770)552-6400 ex. 6105