Kudos to Annunciation Church (Green Bay, Wisconsin), Quad Parishes, and the Compass for supporting the new community garden at Annunciation Church, “Quad Parishes planting seeds in community.” It was ironic that the article appeared the same week as Bp. Ricken’s column “What is a missionary disciple?” Driven by faith in Jesus to honor his created world and sharing your fruits with others is also being a missionary disciple; the witness of community gardeners on our church and school properties can open wide the door to introduce others to Jesus.
When our churches, schools, and religious houses share our property with others, either by producing vegetables for the indigent or inviting others to garden on our own property, we are contributing to a win-win-win situation. Our institutions are given another opportunity to live the message of Christ by sharing with others; County Extension offices are increasing the number of plots that they can offer to interested community gardeners; those without a garden at home gain access to healthy and affordable food while engaging in an emotionally and physically healthy practice. I hope that more of our institutions can follow Annunciation’s and Quad Parish’s example.
Pope Francis’ own words about “ecological education” and “ecological citizenship” (Laudato Si, #211-213) can inspire us to become more active in many ecological enterprises, including gardening; composting; use of mass transit; and avoidance of the the use of plastic, paper, and excessive water. Catholic Climate Covenant offers parishes, Catholic schools, and religious communities lots of guidance in support of Laudato Si. The Covenant’s model for Creation Care Teams provides resources, advice, networking, and other tools to help Catholic organizations integrate the practical, theological, and spiritual dimensions of Laudato Si.