Sunday, September 01, 2013

Hope Garden Enhances Work of The Community Pantry in Gallup, New Mexico

Squash ready to harvest
By Hank Bruce
In Gallup, New Mexico, there is a community garden that can serve as a model for the rest of the country. One of the things that makes this so significant is that this is a garden sponsored by food bank.

Tim Kelley, executive director of The Community Pantry has brought the community together to create this garden. Over the past two years, he developed a dynamic garden, called Hope Garden, with an orchard, asparagus beds, berry patches, raised beds, hoop houses where they grow vegetables for distribution during the winter as well as the rest of the year.

  Raised beds designed to offer access for those with limited mobility
The use of vacant ground as a source of fresh produce for a food bank is awesome and we wish it could be done with food banks, homeless shelters, school gardens and community gardening programs all over the country. Unfortunately, when we have suggested this with other food banks they were negative. Same with many of the school gardens and community shelter programs. Tim is proving that it can be done and he is one of our HUNGER HEROES.

Theraputic Gardens
 Now The Community Pantry is exploring the possibility of hosting a series of therapeutic gardening programs to bring hunger solutions, healing gardens and empowerment together.

Hoop houses are covered areas used for vegetables and herbs. (Photo: The Community Pantry)
 My wife Tomi Jill Folk and I are honored to be invited to work with community organizations, schools, youth and veteran programs, senior communities and all members in the area. We are looking forward to exploring the possibilities for the people of Gallup and the surrounding area.

Tim Kelley describes asparagus beds
The people-plant connection that Charles Lewis spoke and wrote about is alive and well in Gallup. Perhaps this is only the beginning. Perhaps we will see real healing gardens, accessible community gardens, gardens used by youth services, organizations serving the homeless and those working toward a sustainable future.

New Mexico is uniquely qualified to make this happen. With our diverse cultural resources that provide the wisdom and experience, and a climate that forces us to work together I think we can make it happen.
Corn planted not for the ears but the pollen to be used ceremonially
(The author of this piece and the photographer of most of these images (Tomi Jill Folk) are writer/editors, horticurtural therapists, anti-hunger advocates and a strong supporters of Bread for the World).

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