Thursday, October 22, 2015

West Virginia!

Garden ministry. Sounds like a perfect job, if you ask me. And last weekend, we were able to use our background in gardening to serve a community.

Last Friday, Kayla, Robbie, Ashley and I met up with Zach in Cinci, and then from there we continued SE until we got to Summersville, WV (contrary to the summery name, it was freezing). By the time we got to the hotel, we were pooped (and a little slap-happy), so we went straight to sleep.

On Saturday, we drove a short way to Richwood, WV, where we were to meet Linda, a member of the church that’s interested in starting gardens around the town. The need here in this town is to have a way to get food even when the weather is bad. Richwood, a community of 2,000 people, has no grocery store, and the nearest one is 16 miles away in Summersville. Richwood is what is known as a food desert- the only FOOD available is from the Dollar General or the gas station.  When weather gets bad, people are simply unable to travel. So our goal for the weekend was to scout out the needs (perceived or otherwise) in the community and see if/how we could partner with them.

We breakfasted with Linda and then took a driving tour of the town, scoping out places where it might work to have a garden: an unused lot, behind the nursing home, next to church, etc.
That afternoon, we had a garden workshop at the church. Anyone from the church or community was invited, and I think we ended up with 8 people. Robbie shared about homesteading with livestock, Kayla shared about composting, Ashley shared about container gardening, and I shared about how to start a garden and a few pest-control techniques. This group was on fire!—they peppered the presentation with great questions that showed that they really are interested in making this happen.

A pizza dinner with more and more questions followed, after which our group got settled in Linda’s guest house and enjoyed an evening of debriefing and relaxation.

Sunday morning greeted us with quite a chill (27 degrees!), but we were cozy in our little cabin. At the church service, we were able to see the potential gardeners from Saturday’s workshop and meet some more of the members of this tiny, vibrant church.

More than the information that we gave them, I hope that we were able to give them a boost in morale! Seeing the enthusiasm of people like Linda and the pastor was encouraging to us as well.
We are all looking forward to how God continues to use us in this community!