Lutheran Church

Willimantic, Connecticut

Ebenezer Neighborhood Garden

Free, Fresh Vegetables and Herbs – Available this summer

"By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so you prove to be my disciples."  ™ John 15:8

Everyone deserves to have access for enough nutritious food for an active, healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, there are still many families in our community – and around the world – who aren’t certain when and from where the next meal is coming.  According to the USDA, 
  • In 2011, 16 million children in the U.S. (21.6%) were considered food insecure, or unsure of how long food would be available for themselves and their families.

  • In 2010, 48.8 million people lived in food-insecure households.

  • One in eleven adults over 50 (8.8 million people) face the risk of hunger on a regular basis and this rate has steadily risen in the U.S. over the last five years.

  • Summer is a particularly unstable time for family nutrition because free or low-cost school food programs are often not available when school is not open.  

Learn more about how hunger and food insecurity affects children in our community and across the country at the 
Child Hunger Ends Here initiative sponsored by ConAgra Foods. 

 ELCA Hunger Education Toolkit
Our community garden is one way in which we can think globally and act locally to address the pressing needs of hunger in our backyard. But you can also visit this website to better understand issues of hunger and food insecurity faced by billions of people worldwide – and what the church is doing to respond.

Looking for a fun way to make a difference?
Check out the free quiz games at the Free Rice Website! For every question you get right, this organization will donate 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme, to help hungry people worldwide.

The Ebenezer Neighborhood Garden is a community initiative dedicated to increasing the access of fresh and nutritious foods to our neighbors in Willimantic.  It is also a great way for the members of Ebenezer to share God’s love through service and to nurture growth in so many different ways!

The garden stand is located in front of the Summit Street door and will be stocked with fresh vegetables on Tuesdays and Fridays. Anyone harvesting from the garden on other days should put the produce in the refrigerator in the church kitchen. Someone from the church will come early on Tuesday and Friday morning and set up the stand for the day with any produce in the fridge and whatever is ready to be harvested from the garden.

The stand is self –serve with bags and containers on the bottom shelf. Around 7:00pm, someone will return and clean out the stand. Waiting until after dinner gives people who work a chance to collect some healthy food on the way home.  And cleaning out the stand each night ensures everything is fresh each day we open.

Want to pitch in and lend a hand?

You can:

  • volunteer to open or close the garden stand,

  • volunteer to water or weed the garden,

  • pray for our gardeners and the community our garden serves,

  • share a favorite recipe that incorporates garden vegetables, or

  • donate surplus produce from your own garden by leaving it in the church refrigerator.

You may not be able to do everything – but you can
do something to reach out and help our neighbors!

Want to Learn More About Gardening and Similar Projects in Other Communities?

Grow food. Grow hope.

Vegetables aren’t the only things that are growing at this community garden! Find advice, articles, and recipes from a group who has established a community garden in a small college town in Ohio. There are many great ideas here to plant the seeds of hope in a neighborhood.

American Community Gardening Association (ACGA)

Check out this expansive definition of a community garden and its benefits crafted by the ACGA. You’ll also find lots of advice and insight on how to involve friends, neighbors, and children in this important neighborhood initiative.

Home and Garden Education Center, Cooperative Extension System

This website features advice for your home and garden from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Connecticut, including helpful fact sheets and advice on dealing with common pests in Connecticut.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Interactive map to help you plan your planting and select options that are suited to your climate and temperature.

Community Garden Guide: Vegetable Garden Planning and Development
This comprehensive booklet (pdf) prepared by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service discusses garden shape, size, preparation, and row orientation, and includes a chart listing vegetables, estimated pounds needed per person, row length to plant per person, yield per foot of row, and preservation data.