By Sam Elliott
The gardening space outside Holy Family Episcopal Church has come a long way from what it was when Joel Bruns first began the Fishers church’s project five years ago.
“We started with just three little raised garden beds that were maybe 4 feet by 8 feet,” he said. “We started out with a very small space and that was really just me and a few of the youth from the church who were doing that. Then that’s where the idea came that we could open it up to the whole community.”
The Holy Family Community Garden first welcomed area gardeners in 2011 and has expanded nearly every year since to now feature 60 plots measuring 5 feet by 15 feet across two locations at the church’s Fishers Pointe Boulevard property.
“We’ve sold out every year that we’ve had it and we’ve had a waiting list almost every year. It just seems like every year we have more and more people and we have people who come back year after year so we keep expanding,” Bruns said. “Then this year we also added what essentially is one really long plot that has been used by the vestry of the church to grow things solely to donate to the food pantry.”
Providing fresh produce to the Come to Me Food Pantry at Fishers United Methodist Church is what first spurned the garden’s creation. Gardeners have also grown flowers that go on to be donated to area nursing homes and retirement communities.
“It’s always been part of our mission to use the garden as a way to help feed people in need in our community,” Bruns said. “Then when we opened it up to community members, we just asked on a voluntary basis that whatever gardeners grow they donate a portion back to the food pantry to continue that part of the mission.”
Holy Family also hosts monthly “Garden Talks” from the start of the growing season in April through October, led by gardener James Keith, with the training sessions touching on topics ranging from garden maintenance and fertilizer choices to canning vegetables.
The church is hosting its annual cookout to celebrate another growing season at 11 a.m. Sept. 5, with gardeners encouraged to bring dishes using ingredients grown in the garden.