In this video, Bishop Clements highlights a community supported agriculture project at Trinity Lutheran Church, Durand. Synodically Authorized Minister, Sharon Beksel and other members of the gardening team share about this growing ministry.
The idea came out of the congregation’s effort to reach out to the broader community. They were concerned about the demographics in the area – including an aging population and a lake area that’s turning into a retirement community. Like many rural communities, residents are experiencing financial stressors, and there has been an increasing demand for food and gas vouchers. Trinity wanted the project to address food scarcity issues while being consistent with the fact that they’re in an agricultural region.
So, they started a garden. They sell subscriptions and provide weekly boxes of fresh produce to subscribers. The money they raise is divided equally between their “Blessing Box” free food pantry and ELCA World Hunger. Leftover produce is picked up by the University of Illinois Extension’s Plant-a-Row which takes fresh produce to food pantries in Rockford.
They have just completed their second season, now with three gardens and a more streamlined system. Next year, they hope to encourage members of the community or the HS agriculture program to join them.
This growing ministry received a grant from the NIS Social Ministry committee to help them reach out into their community. Bishop encourages congregations to partner with the synod to start other innovative incubator projects to find new ways to be part of God’s work in the world.