St. Mary Parish photo
Volunteers work a St. Mary Parish garden in Corvallis.
St. Mary Parish photo
Volunteers work a St. Mary Parish garden in Corvallis.
For churches, community gardens often foster social involvement, healthy activity and a connection to the land and environment. According to Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, gardens help build food security, as well as serving as a place for gatherings, classes, mentoring opportunities and friendship.

Once a parish has chosen a site that has good soil, abundant sun, adequate drainage and nearby neighbors, here are some issues that should be considered before building commences:

• Cost of infrastructure required to create and maintain a garden, including ongoing expenses such as water, soil amendments and plants.  

• Are there core advocates with gardening expertise to spark community-wide enthusiasm?

• Outline a clear plan and long-term vision for the garden.
• Development of an overall garden management plan, including plot allocation, use of the garden, maintenance of plots and seasonal cleanup.

• Is the space accessible to low-income gardeners?

• How will volunteer coordination and ongoing management of the garden be handled?