Phase I of the community garden at Asbury UMC is a citrus orchard. Last week I convinced 18 folk to adopt a tree for the grove. Our goal is another 7 sold this week so we have 25 to plant on Arbor Day– March 20th. Our congregation is excited about the project and the local refugee population is stepping up to help do a lot of the planting. I am thrilled to be a part of this work. I can see this otherwise unused slot of land bloom into a lovely garden where we’ll all come together to learn.
For example, did you know these date shoots can be transplanted? The things I’m learning this week are nothing short of nutty. (Or in this case, date-y.) We are hopefully going to very gently harvest these and plant them along the front border of the church to provide a live fence. (Go, go gadget Peace Corps farming knowledge! I’ve used you so little. Welcome back!)
I am wrangling volunteers, begging friends with trucks to pick up loads of mulch and gathering shovels so the citrus grove can be planted. Within three years, we should have a bounty of fruit to keep hungry congregants, neighbors and refugees well fed. In the meantime, we’ll progress to Phase II — vegetable gardening plots and eventually Phase III. This is the one with which I’m most intrigued. I’ve long wanted chickens, much to my family and friend’s utter curiosity. I know they are filthy and noisey. I also know how incredible organic eggs are and the financial possibilities we can provide to a couple refugee families willing to take on animal husbandry. Did you know a chick will begin laying eggs after 14-15 weeks of development and the lay an egg every 27 hours for 52 weeks? With 10 chickens, we are going to make a boatload of money charging $4 a dozen for organic eggs at the Phoenix Farmer’s Market and to congregants. Money for refugee families who need work. Citrus, veggies and eggs for my belly. Really, what isn’ t there to celebrate?
If you live in Arizona and want to get involved, all are welcome. Shoot me an email for the details. (Shoot! Shoot me an email about shoots! Oh, the puns.)
I’d love to meet you and have you join in the fun!