Garden for Jesus!
Audrey Hinton
What do you do with a few free pallets and lots of “helpful” hands? We started a farm stand for our neighborhood! Our family wanted to find a way to connect with neighbors and serve them in a practical way. The girls named it after their farm-to-table restaurant, which they hope to feature items from for sale as soon as the shelter-in-place is over. Even before COVID, our family had started seedlings in the garage with the idea to make enough to share. It was a collaborative effort from the start-our neighbors gave us a light from one of their fish tanks! We thought helping others to start a garden would be an encouraging way to “pay it forward” and share the joy that we get as a family watching and helping things grow.
We talk a lot in our family about the concept in Isaiah 55:8-11, that even when we don’t understand, we are to trust God’s perfect ways, and to continue to act in faith. Then, we noticed the Message version that mentioned seeds and it seemed to fit perfectly with our conversations lately! “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.”

Each day, we put out whatever is growing best, along with an inspirational quote. By the end of every day, the plants are gone and more connections are made! Things got so popular that we asked for more containers, and people contributed generously! Even on days when we don’t have plants ready to give, more containers show up, and once, a nice thank you note from a neighbor a few blocks away. The main goal, however, is the happiness it seems to spread. Another neighbor likes to sit outside just to watch people, “as they clutch their treasured plants to their chests, grinning from ear to ear.” We met a woman last weekend asking for beans, she said she loves walking along our street because, “she always sees neighbors out, helping each other.”The fun of it is that even when the seedlings are gone (even though we’re diligently growing more!), there will be surplus from several neighborhood gardens that have already been pledged to share with anyone walking by. Some people will need the food, some are just hungry for conversation, our farm stand serves both!