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Feeding the hungry - Green Hope Gardens

Associates logoSchool Sisters of Notre Dame Associates

Living out the works of mercy in their everyday life

By Sister Joan Marie Van Beek and Associate Wayne Fontaine - Ohio and West Virginia

Sisters and associates at May 2015 covenanting in Belpre, OhioSisters and associates at May 2015 covenanting in Belpre, Ohio.

Sister Mariel Kreuziger at the dedication of the garden May 2012
Sister Mariel Kreuziger at the dedication of the garden in May 2012.
Associates Joan and Wayne Fontaine have been the driving force behind Green Hope Garden in Belpre, OH.  The produce from this garden is given to the local food bank.
Associates Joan and Wayne Fontaine planting a tomato in a raised bed.

In 2010, during monthly associate meetings, Sisters Mariel Kreuziger and Henrita Gonia and the associates in Ohio and West Virginia reflected on what they might do to feed the hungry, bring comfort to those in need, provide nourishment for the hungry spirit and be good stewards of the land entrusted to us.

They identified the land surrounding St. Ambrose Church in Little Hocking, Ohio, as a perfect site for multiple garden boxes. They spoke to St. Ambrose Parish Council and easily obtained their permission and enthusiastic support to build four 20-by-3-foot garden boxes. Sisters, associates and friends from the parish planted, weeded, harvested and shared all the vegetables with the local food pantry, Belpre Area Ministries. In 2011, four more boxes were built.

Each year the harvest provides fresh vegetables to clients of the food bank, a healthy supplement to the canned goods received during the winter months.

Satellite imagery shows the mediation path, 4 mediation points and 8 raised beds of Green Hope Gardens.
Satellite imagery shows the mediation path, 4 mediation points and 8 raised beds of Green Hope Gardens.

In 2015, Green Hope Gardens produced a harvest of beans (20 pounds), sweet peppers (55), zucchini (124) regular tomatoes (157), cucumbers (312), carrots (529), and golden cherry tomatoes (8,934 -- yes, we counted them!).

In 2015, the dream of a meditation path meandering around the garden boxes became a reality. With the help of the parish Knights of Columbus, this path with four meditation points and four stone benches was built. These markers encourage the walker to relax, take in the beauty of the gardens and ponder the meditation points.

Feeding the hungry has grown from an idea into a reality, with the investment of time, sweat equity and some aching backs.

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