Church of the Highlands adopting Alabaster community garden
Published 10:43 am Thursday, June 23, 2016
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – A 2-acre plot of land in Alabaster’s Limestone Park soon will be planted to the brim with everything from blackberries to lettuce and squash to help local food banks after the Church of the Highlands adopted the project through its Serve Day program.
During its June 13 meeting, the Alabaster City Council voted unanimously to allow the Alabaster campus of the Church of the Highlands to use the about 2-acre plot in Limestone Park off U.S. 31 to operate a community garden.
A portion of the land currently houses a small community garden, and the Church of the Highlands is looking to greatly expand the project over the next several months, said Alabaster campus Associate Pastor Ron Hogland.
“Our ultimate goal is to see this become a huge farm that’s sole purpose is to feed those in need,” Hogland said. “We want to take this and really do something big with it.”
Hogland said the church holds a Serve Day each July, and reached out to Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon – Who attends the church – to see how they could best help locals in need.
The church’s Alabaster campus had already been working with the Alabaster-based Manna Ministries, which provides food to locals who cannot afford it each Saturday, and was eyeing a project to bolster the charity’s food bank.
“Now, a lot of what you see (at Manna) is a lot of processed food. It’s certainly better than having no food at all, but we’d like to help them get better nutrition,” Hogland said.
During this year’s Serve Day on July 16, the church will begin working to expand and transform the community garden into a sustainable supply of fresh food to Manna and other local charities.
During Serve Day, Hogland said between 200 and 300 volunteers will work to build a greenhouse, construct a pavilion, build a fence and prepare the garden to reap a bountiful spring harvest next year.
“We do plan to do some fall planting and reap some harvest like squash, broccoli and lettuce,” Hogland said. “But our main goal is to get it prepared for next spring.”
Hogland said Church of the Highlands is working to form partnerships with other area churches and schools to support the project.
“I’m excited about the fact that we are seeing churches coming together,” Hogland said. “I think it will be a great way to bring unity to our churches and our community and let the city see what Jesus really looks like.”