Farmers’ market and community gardens become ministries for local congregations.
Area churches are pitching in to make sure Cherokee residents don’t have to travel far for fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables and homemade specialties this summer.
In fact, it has become another avenue of ministry for two congregations. On Tuesdays from 2-7 p.m., the field in front of Sixes Presbyterian Church is filled with vendors selling everything from homemade soaps to hot tamales and empanadas.
“We would like to create a space for local farmers and craftsmen to sell their products. We also would like to make available to our community these great homemade and home-grown products,” said the Rev. Lucas Pina. “This is an outreach project of our church. We are here to serve our community, connect with them, and show the love of Christ in a practical way.”
Organizer Mike Gerard doesn’t take his job lightly. He carefully chooses who is allowed to pitch a tent in the church yard.
“I approve each and every one. It’s a balance, to make sure that people make money and the shoppers have a good variety,” said Gerard, who said he’s looking for more vegetable vendors.
A community garden at Fields Chapel United Methodist gives wannabe farmers who have no land a chance to grow fruits and veggies. Church youth members also will be planting there in hopes of selling produce for missions and donating to folks in need.
“The youth have named the garden ‘Pauline’s Garden’” in memory of long-time member Pauline Hendrix, said the Rev. Anne Rex, pastor of Fields Chapel. “She loved all the gifts of nature that God gave her and she loved to work outside in her yard. The place where we have the garden is where Pauline had a huge garden.”
The garden is located at the corner of Fields Chapel Road and Ga. 20. If you’re interested in trying your hand at gardening, get more info at www.fieldschapel.org.
Reinhardt University hosts the Waleska Farmers’ Market in the university’s parking lot behind the Red Sea Church, at the corner of Highways 108 and 140. Hours are 4:15-7:30 p.m. each Thursday through Aug. 30.
The market sponsors a “Waleska Blooms” photo contest, with entries accepted June 7 and 14 to be voted on June 21 and 28. Winner gets a $25 gift card to a local store. Guest chefs will in July and August will share recipes for fresh produce and market finds.