Leadership Change at the St. Peter’s Community Garden

Leadership Change at the St. Peter’s Community Garden (also known as the 8th Street Garden) and Call for Volunteers

Our Community Garden is one of the largest gardens in the Friendship Garden Network, which is a network of gardens in Charlotte all raising fresh, healthy produce for Friendship Trays, our local meals on wheels program. The garden typically contributes at least 1200 pounds of food annually to this cause of providing nutritious food to those who can’t feed themselves, and raises produce throughout the year. Located on the campus of Trinity Episcopal School quite near the church, the garden is a partnership effort between St Peter’s and Trinity Episcopal School. It serves as an outdoor classroom for students and an outreach opportunity for both communities.

Started in 2012 by parishioners Ann Bass and Nancy Duncan, the garden in recent years has been led by Nancy, parishioner Sean Casey, and Margaret Rudisill, a member of Christ Church. Sean and Margaret are the teachers who run the middle school science program at Trinity. Together with Nancy, they have integrated the garden into the science and service learning programs at the school. Volunteers from St Peter’s, working together with the students and teachers, have been absolutely critical for making this enterprise a success.

The moment has come for a change in leadership at the community garden, and now, more than ever, our volunteer support is needed as the garden goes through this transition. Both Margaret and Nancy will retire by Friday June 9th, and Sean will assume the central leadership role. Margaret’s family is moving to Charleston, SC and Nancy must take care of some personal matters and make a new chapter in her life. The new teacher taking Margaret’s place is a gardening enthusiast and eager to learn, but she will not arrive until August.

Sean really needs our help, especially this summer. He has received a “Light the Fire” grant from Trinity enabling him to study the intersection of social justice and environmental justice as it plays out in access to water. Leaving on June 11th, he will travel through June and July to Standing Rock, North Dakota, Flint, Michigan, Washington, DC, and Entebbe, Uganda to listen to various stakeholders in these communities and then bring back all he has learned to us.

Since Sean will be gone, we cannot plan to grow any food other than sweet potatoes this summer unless a committed team of volunteers can be created to plant, harvest, and tend the garden. The significant contribution our garden makes during the summer season will be missed at Friendship Trays if we do not grow. We can plant only if enough people can commit to these several areas of responsibility: preparing soil and seed flats Friday 5/26 starting at 9:00 a.m. and Saturday 5/27 starting at 10:00 a.m.; growing flats of seedlings at home from 5/31-6/7; planting on Thursday 6/8 starting at 9:00 a.m.; joining the summer gardening team so that there are enough people to tend the garden two days a week with at least two people working each day. Sign Up Genius would be used to organize the group. There will be an orientation meeting on June 8th at a time that best suits most people if the team is created. If you can commit to the summer team, please send dates that work best for you. Please contact Nancy Duncan at innercitygardens4@gmail.com by noon on Friday May 26th if you will join the team. We will determine whether to plant at that time. Please let Nancy know if you can help Friday morning 5/26 by Thursday 5/25 at 8:00 p.m. There is work to be done to prepare for planting the sweet potatoes regardless of whether the rest of the garden is planted, and the weather this week is compressing the work schedule terribly.

Sean, Margaret, and Nancy send many thanks for all of your good work and cheerful company over the years and through the seasons, and hope that the garden continues to be a place for all ages to commune and enjoy the blessing of growing food from God’s green earth. Please consider seriously this opportunity to make a difference and enjoy each other’s fellowship this summer.