A fruitful mission to feed the church garden community

The Opequon Presbyterian Church Roots & Shoots community in Creston has everything you can expect from a garden and more.

The church’s volunteers grow tomatoes, eggs, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, radish, strawberries, carrots, green beans, pumpkins, pumpkins, potatoes, corn and melons, as well as tomatoes, poblano peppers and jalapenos, much to the delight of their customers.

But that is not all.

“We have a gourd cave this year,” said Robin Owens, a member of the church and a volunteer gardener. We never had a cave.

Remembering how she and other leadership volunteers had talked to the designer through an 8-foot-tall cave vision was a surprise.

With the help of parishioners Mike Wangangt and Cole Owens, they set up all the wiring and encouraged the vines to grow again and again.

“Gurgaon Cave is a wonderful place in the garden,” says community gardener Bill Hopsk.

The church contributes about 95% of its annual harvest to two local food warehouses, Owen said.

At 446 Highland Ave. , Winchester, Every Tuesday and last year, High Land Food Depot opened 751 Fairfax Pike, Stephen City, High Rando Restaurant on the first and third Thursday.

“God planted the seed,” Owens said.

We can work through this garden service to reach out and engage others … I think it is more emotional than anything.

The garden, which had been successfully growing for 10 years on a nearby farm, had recently been uprooted and taken to church property.

Volunteers built 34 high beds with fences to protect deer and underground farms.

“If the garden had not been for the community, it would not exist now,” Owens said. We started building high beds last year on Care Day.

She said the Navy Federal Credit Union staff came to help Frederick County High School students and others.

“The process was exciting, very rewarding,” Owens said. It was fun to start something off the ground.

She said the project has taken a lot of vision, and thanked Prake for all the preliminary research, including complying with all necessary city and county guidelines.

“I am the vine,” said the Owens. He chose the name Roots & Shoots in honor of John 15: 5. You are branches. If you abide in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit.

“We are chosen because they are in love with God and he works through us,” Owens said. The seed is planted in our hearts, I know it is.

“110% support us,” she said.

Whit, along with his wife and daughter, volunteered to water the garden with Owens and many other parishioners.

According to Tesfap, the church supplies more than ፓ 2,000 a year to local food warehouses.

So far this year, they have donated more than ፓ 600.

Graham Taylor presents his product every week and says, “It’s as strong as a rock.”

What products are not provided for food storage, used in mid-week Bible study classes and as part of their fall preparation in the Church.

Anyone interested in volunteering in the garden is invited to call the church to make time to visit.

“We accept anyone who wants to help,” he said.

The garden behind the village of Crucifixion south of Winchester is hidden behind the church and locked up when there are no volunteers.

Owens is unaware of the church’s other gardens around the area, and hopes to serve as an example of how other churches can expand their missions to other churches.

“Everyone can do something,” she said.

Even a small bed can produce incredible product.

For more information, go to opequonchurch.org or call 540-662-1843.

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