Faith In Action: Congregational or Community Garden
Activity time: 0 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Closing song lyrics from Session 1
- Handout 1, "The Garden Song" Lyrics
- Optional: Unitarian Universalist Association Ethical Eating Study Guide
Preparation for Activity
- Consult with the religious educator and other appropriate congregational leaders and/or staff. Decide where and when you can create a congregational garden, how the group can help maintain an existing congregational garden.
- If a congregational garden is not feasible, find out how families and/or the wider congregation can become involved with a community garden in your area. Learn about UU congregations partnering with community gardens on the Green Sanctuary blog or on congregational websites (search UUA.org for community garden partnerships). The American Community Garden Association also has many resources.
- Choose a date for a meeting to launch this project, in consultation with the religious educator and appropriate congregational leaders.
- Communicate the event to the World of Wonder families and, if you wish, the wider congregation. If the congregation participates in the Green Sanctuary program, invite members of that committee to participate.
- If the garden is off-site, make appropriate transportation arrangements including permissions.
- Recruit volunteers to photograph or video the project.
- Copy Handout 1 for all participants.
Description of Activity
This activity engages children directly in planting and/or maintaining a garden.
If your congregation already has a garden, find a project that the World of Wonder children and their families can work on. Depending on the season, they might help prepare the garden for planting, plant seeds, weed growing plants, harvest, or prepare the garden for winter. If the congregation does not have a garden, and space is available, work with the appropriate congregational leaders to plan a garden and designate certain tasks or even a part of the garden for religious education groups. Involve the children as much as possible in decisions about the garden, such as what to plant and where to donate the garden's yield.
Delegates at the General Assembly in Charlotte, NC approved Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice as a 2011 Statement of Conscience. Resources include the Ethical Eating Study Guide and an ethical eating page on UUA.org.
You might create a garden project with a community partner. Create a community garden on the congregation's property or in the community. Research area community gardens and invite a representative to educate your group about getting started. Involve children and youth. One mostly White congregation in Oregon established a community garden in cooperation with Latinx neighbors, including individual plots and a group plot for corn raised with traditional indigenous methods; the project included potlucks with concomitant ESL classes. A Massachusetts congregation maintains an organic community garden at a local human services center, donating most of its harvest to local food assistance programs; the garden hosts the town's Earth Day festival, and provides food for an annual October dinner raising funds for nearby food banks.
At the close of the initial meeting, ask the World of Wonder children to lead participants in the song "We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands" or "The Garden Song."
Share the photos or video with the children in a subsequent session.
Including All Participants
Ensure that shared work areas are accessible to all. Make sure the project includes roles for everyone.