Thursday, February 4, 2016

Mercy in the Garden

Kate Ritger, in the Common Ground Garden
knee deep in snow

The Common Ground Garden is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) garden founded by the Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict in 1993. This farming model, with roots in Japan and Europe, is a partnership of mutual commitment between a farm and supporters. Members make a financial pledge and promise to contribute time and personal skills to the farm. They receive a weekly share of fresh vegetables throughout the growing season and develop a relationship with the farmer, the land and other members.


Gardens are about growing food and are intrinsically about feeding the hungry, the first “Work of Mercy” noted in Chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew. The CSA model and our Benedictine mission is to feed the hungry by focusing on hospitality and relationships. We have relationships with our members, work share participants, (members who can work to reduce the cost of their garden share), clients at the St. Joseph Food Shelf and those who participate in Joe Town Table, a free monthly community meal in St. Joseph. 


This year we will also build relationships with those who utilize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). SNAP garden members will be able to use their benefits to purchase a CSA share. We look forward to the personal skills and friendship they will bring to the garden community.


Whether you live in St. Joe or many miles away, whether it’s early February or the middle of the harvest season, we encourage you to find ways to deepen relationships with the farmers, land, food and neighbors around you. Nourish your bodies, care for the earth and when in St. Joe, stop by and visit us.

Kate Ritger

Common Ground Gardens Production Manager

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