Less than six months ago the first sod was turned, and the first holes were drilled to create stage one of the "Feed My People" Community Garden. We believe it is the first garden of its type in the north-west of New South Wales.
For many years, this patch of ground was a meeting place for people. It was a place for church picnics, Sunday school events and later again for lawn tennis matches.
However, for nearly twenty years, this piece of prime, flat, well drained, well lit 650 square metres of fertile ground did little more than get mowed and grow weeds.
Today, we celebrate its reclamation as a meeting place and a gathering place, not just for sport or the church minded, but for the community at large.
The vision for this garden and its purpose is probably best summed up in its name – 'The Feed My People' Community Garden.
In the gospel of John, Chapter 21 in verse 17, Jesus issues a command to Peter, but it applies to all Christians – 'Feed My People'. It is a call we take up as part of who we are as Christians with and on behalf of all people in our community. We are called to feed each other.
But, what do we mean by 'feed'.
- At a basic level, people involved in the garden will have the opportunity to, without rental cost, produce their own fresh, organic food and to swap produce as well as share expertise and help others. The church also will have a plot from which they can grow food to give away to people in need in the local community.
- But feeding is also about nurturing and nourishing on different levels – it is bringing people together, who wouldn't normally come together – from different walks of life and with different skill sets and levels of expertise. Feeding is about gathering people, creating relationships between people, connecting and reconnecting people as well as developing a sense of community and shared purpose.
Also, we need to ask who it is that we will feed – MY PEOPLE. When God says my people, he makes no distinction and neither do we. We expect a cross section of people to be involved – working alongside each other – sharing expertise and life stories as well as produce. Already we have approached and been approached by people in the community. As well we are forging relationship with Fairview, the Moree Secondary College, the local TAFE as well as local farmers and community organisations.
Our vision is for this garden to be an example for others who need a model of how to establish a garden. Lastly, we envisage the importance of our garden will be as a place for education, meditation and gathering people together as well as a place for growing produce.
At this juncture, I joyfully acknowledge the people and organisations that have contributed to the first stage of building the garden.
- The NSW Synod of the Uniting Church with its grant of $3327
- The Australian Open Garden Scheme with its donation of $1500 and their support for the project.
- The Moree College of TAFE with its contribution of seedlings and furniture and expertise.
- Moree Shire Council supported us in our grant applications as well as a donating 15 tonnes of North West loam.
- The generous discounting by many local businesses, recognising the garden is a community exercise.
- Further, we acknowledge the expertise, the hard graft and financial support of many people in Moree Uniting Church's congregation, as well as the work of several people from our wider community in addition to the labour provided by the students and teachers of Moree Secondary College to build the structures.
We thank you for what you have brought and what you have done in order that we may all feed our people and nurture our community.
May God continue to bless you all.