Pastor hopes to dig in new area to expand community garden offerings

The people behind a Terre Haute community garden hope to expand with the creation of what could be the first community citrus garden in the state.

Posted: Mar 27, 2018 11:29 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The people behind a Terre Haute community garden hope to expand with the creation of what could be the first community citrus garden in the state.

Spruce Street Community Church, located at 1660 Spruce Street in Terre Haute, created a community garden a year ago. Hope Garden is located across from the church, on 19th Street. Pastor Tess Stephens says up to seventy-five people have benefited from the fresh fruits and vegetables grown there.

Pastor Stephens is now asking Vigo county commissioners for help in getting more land to expand. She is requesting to buy five vacant lots along Spruce Street for two dollars a lot. Stephens wants to build a greenhouse on some of the property and has already secured funding through several grants.  

Pastor Stephens says, "We've been researching the information on how to make that a successful venture and so we're just really itching to get started."

Pastor Stephens says the Hope Garden has provided much needed access to food and this new garden will be a continuation of that work. She explains the area is a food desert and many people have a difficult time getting to the grocery store.

"Now we are having the opportunity to have the children in the neighborhood become involved, the adults and the older seniors in the neighborhood that used to have gardens that can't do the planting anymore, they're enjoying it as well."

Pastor Stephens explains this has been a great learning experience for the children in the neighborhood.

Imer Holman is a West Vigo Middle School sixth grader. He says he has learned how to properly plant and water plants in the Hope Garden and worked last summer to move bricks for the raised beds.

"I love my onions. Just can't wait for them to come up so I can eat them. It makes me feel happy because I can make a salad and put my onions in it with my ranch dressing."

Holman is excited about the possibility of a new citrus garden and hopes he can help build it.

Holman says, "It's a good way to help your community and how to share, share things that other people are not fortunate to have so they can all have accessibility to fresh vegetables and fresh fruits."

Pastor Stephens hopes to have an answer from commissioners in the next thirty days. The citrus garden could be ready to go this year if the church can purchase the land soon.

More planting in the Hope Garden will happen later in April.

Plans are also underway to create a commercial kitchen inside the church parish house so people can learn how to properly prepare fresh foods and can food for the winter. Pastor Stephens says it is called the Hope Kitchen of Knowledge.

If you would like to donate to Spruce Street Community Church, click here.

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