Let it grow
St Francis Church, Heartsease, has long been committed to proclaiming the Gospel of Christ through offering loving support and practical assistance to the parish we have been called to serve.
Over the years, and especially more recently, the church has been exploring projects that work with the local community in living sustainably and helping those experiencing food poverty to access, with dignity, the provisions they need.
The “Let it Grow” initiative began soon after a Community Fridge was opened in 2018 on St Francis Church premises. The idea was that as well as accessing food that would have otherwise headed for landfill, interested folk could also get involved in growing their own produce.
Jim Green was the original founder of the project, and with the help of several willing volunteers, a small growing area was established in the field that lay behind St Francis Church.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 intervened and in 2020 lockdown the Community Fridge was forced to close; it was only through Jim’s determination that the Let it Grow growing project was kept alive.
Throughout that difficult summer a small amount of fresh produce was grown on the small plot and was given away, as were a number of surplus plants and seedlings that were donated by local gardeners. Although we were pleased the veg patch was surviving – it was not quite what we had hoped for!
However, in the late Spring of 2021, St Francis was contacted by FarmShare and we were asked if we might be interested in joining with them in their vision to grow seasonal, organic produce to enable poorly served communities to gain better access to healthy food.
Based in Whitlingham, FarmShare is all about encouraging people of all ages and abilities to volunteer to help manage their own smallholding in Whitlingham, to sustainably grow organic produce, and eventually to share their expertise and experience with local communities throughout the city.
With the help of FarmShare, St Francis has been able to literally expand and broaden the scope of the Let it Grow project – the veg plot is now much bigger with a huge variety of produce being grown and given away; and, following on from the PCC offering up the whole field to be managed by the Let it Grow team in association with the St Francis EcoChurch Group, the whole area is becoming a beautiful, prayerful, fertile and productive space that is a joy to behold.
Every Wednesday morning between 9am and 11.30am the field is now literally buzzing with activity – we are delighted with how Let it Grow has blossomed and incredibly thankful that we have been so blessed. From tiny seeds, wonderful things, indeed, will grow!
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