A new crop of congregations turns to gardening

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GAITHERSBURG, Md. — The Rev. Sarah Scherschligt walks behind her Prince of Peace Lutheran Church to the spot where she feels “closer to God.” Surrounded by a chicken-wire fence and marked by a sign that reads “Fruitful Fields,” is her church’s new vegetable garden. Growing there are tomatoes ready to be picked for the local […]

  • Lynn and David Tryggestad

    We think this is a wonderful, hopeful article, and applaud each and every effort toward Good Green: stewardship, care of creation, and choices for life and health.

    Gardening, composting, buying food grown locally, supporting farmers who grow organic, valuing precious resources, eating and living communally have been personal goals of David’s and mine for many years.

    Decades ago we boycotted Nestle (I still do–I have a long memory) for their sales of outdated infant formula to women in poor countries. We chose to breastfeed our babies when it was not culturally popular, and we declined to use disposable diapers. We began composting and limiting family waste by avoiding plastic packaging. Thirty years ago people said to us, “Oh, all of that takes too much time. Do you honestly think what you are doing will make a difference?”

    We see signs all over the country that people who make choices like ours ARE making a difference. Local famers’ markets are springing up all over the country. There is a steadily growing movement against corporate farming and heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers. More people refuse to drink or feed their children BGH contaminated milk, eggs from caged chickens, shrink-wrapped beef from 1000 feedlot-tortured cows.

    The same people are also declining to purchase products that contaminate water, air and/or impact others’ health or livlihoods. And others are taking notice, particularly as we all finally begin to see with our own eyes the global impact of years of pollution, large-scale corporate greed, slave-wages paid for outsourced labor, large areas of urban wasteland, ruined rivers, water shortages, rising temperatures.

    Some of us remember what real food is supposed to taste like. Some of us have never stopped baking our own bread. Some of us remember a slower, less frenetic, more thoughtful time. Some of us remember true communal life: knowing each neighbor, lending helping hands, trading goods and services. Some of us grew up tending large family gardens, watching and helping our mothers, fathers, grandmothers garden, sew, knit, bake, can, tell stories around the table.

    Some of us deliberately choose to spend more money on better foodstuffs grown by ourselves, friends and neighbors. Some of us have never set foot inside a Walmart. Some of us realize that what hurts some of us hurts all of us. Some of us realize that each time we spend one dollar, we may support people or actively harm them.

    Some of us watch “The Story of Stuff” once in awhile to remind ourselves that each and every choice is so much more than a single throwaway moment. Some of us take time to make a difference. We choose how and when to spend. Some of us refuse any kind of attempt to spread fear by demonizing the other. Any movement which teaches that “they” are not like “us” is a stance of hate.

    Some of us refuse to set foot in a Walmart. Some of us turned off the television long ago. Some of us understand that we truly get what we pay for. Cheap is not good. Cheap means somebody lost. In the long run, that somebody is us.

    Some of us no longer feel so lonely, as others of us are thinking, choosing, joining and doing toward a healthier, more satisfying way of life for all.

    Thank you for your good work. And now I’m off to the Farmers’ Market! (:

    Lynn Tryggestad
    August 15, 2009
    Duluth, Minnesota

  • Lynn Tryggestad

    PS: To Whom It May Concern:

    If you were to use any portion of this article, please edit for errors:

    1. Spelling of livelihood, for example. sigh

    2. One too many uses of “all over the country” in sentence one and two in Paragraph 4. mea culpa

    Hastily done writing can always be improved!! (I speak as an English teacher, and therefore One Who Knows.)

    Lynn Tryggestad