Camden Community Garden will produce a bounty

Camden Garden Main

This summer, there will be bounty in the garden, and it will be shared gladly.

That greatly pleases the Rev. Martin Hutchinson, who eagerly joined fellow supporters as they worked on building a garden in Salisbury and as they plan to cultivate crops,  teach children about planting and, perhaps most importantly,  freely offer summer’s ripe vegetables to local residents.

“Camden Community Garden is brand new,” a jubilant Hutchinson said, after he, as a member of the hard-working team, moved dirt, sawed wood and constructed raised beds on the city-owned parcel  near Newton Street’s tot lot. It is being rented from the city.

The garden has been Hutchinson’s dream three years, and is a  joint project of Corner Church Collective. The collective is composed of his church, Community of Joy Church of the Brethren, as well as  Bethany Lutheran Church, Beacon of Light and Restoration Project.

Martin said members of the collective had been looking at lots and, at the end of March, received approval from the city to rent the 13,080-square-foot piece of land not far from St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.

“I thought it would be really cool to be able to teach children and their families, to teach them about food, about how food is grown,” he said, adding he is confident Pinehurst Elementary School teachers will  get involved.

“Green SBY got behind it …  and we decided to make Camden Community Garden their  inaugural project. Surely God smiles when churches work together,” he said.

He recalled a meeting attended by about 45 people  from the collective. “When we pitched the garden project, 18 people got really excited,” he said.

Phase I of the two-phase project will have 16 garden beds that are 4 feet wide and 24 feet long.

Organizers are still deciding what to grow. Children they asked requested carrots and cucumbers. “That blows my mind,” Martin said, laughing.

“We have told people this is going to be a community garden and it’s for you,” he said.

Organizers are likely to plant tomatoes, peppers, squash and radishes to start.

Martin has obtained about $7,000 in grant money, plus $200 in donations, to buy lumber, dirt, tools, a shed, sign and plants. The city will install a water line and he’s hoping to find funding for an irrigation system.

He needs $3,900 more. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to  Community of Joy, 802 Kearny Court, Salisbury, Md. 21804. For additional details, see www.Web GrowCamden.com or call  410-548-9930.

“We’re trying to be a blessing,” Martin said, adding the collective also shelters the homeless in winter and is working on a program to feed children during summer, when they don’t get free meals at school.

“Being a blessing is our whole concept,” he said.

“Our purpose is to grow healthy vegetables and to build community. And that’s happening.”

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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