Home A Garden for the Community - Issue #208 (October 3, 2014)

A Garden for the Community - Issue #208 (October 3, 2014)

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Eden Prairie United Methodist Church is a mid-size suburban congregation located southwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota. One of the congregation’s goals is to live its discipleship through outreach as a congregation and as individuals. To reach that goal, the congregation works to explore the groups and needs of the community and to identify options for specific action to address those needs.

The community boasts many large homes with well-kept yards. It is not unusual to spy pools, tennis courts, and the occasional private basketball court. Upon visiting Eden Prairie, one would assume that poverty and hunger are not problems that residents face. Yet the congregation discovered that access to good quality fresh produce was limited for low-income people and families in the community.

The congregational leadership had participated in the Healthy Church Initiative a few years ago. As a part of this process, members had been considering ways the congregation could meet a neighborhood need. Realizing the church owned a lot of land that was not being used, they decided to use some of the church’s property for a community vegetable garden, thereby providing fresh produce for those who needed it. EPUMC members volunteered for planting, weeding, and harvesting duties. The Minnesota Vikings grounds keeper even showed up with his rototiller to prepare the garden for planting.

All of the vegetables from the garden are donated to People Reaching Out to People (PROP), a local service agency. Over two thousand pounds of tomatoes, beans, peppers, and other vegetables were harvested and donated to PROP in Eden Prairie’s first year of gardening! Check out photos from this year’s garden on the church’s website: http://www.prairiechurch.org.

Questions for Discussion

  • How is your congregation discerning what God is up to in your neighborhood?
  • How is your congregation making a difference in the lives of your neighbors?
  • What is your congregation doing to be good news for the poor of your community?


Steven Manskar is Director of Wesleyan Leadership at Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church. You can contact him at [email protected].


Romans 12 Newsletter. Issue #208. © 2014 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this newsletter for use in United Methodist congregations. This newsletter is provided as a service of Discipleship Ministries and is funded through World Service apportionment giving by local United Methodist congregations.