GRIN Produce Garden

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Take a minute to sign up on our volunteer engagement page (make sure to click the "New User" button your first time), and then you can sign up to participate in the garden however you like.

(If using the page on your phone, you may need to zoom in and out to see things best, but sign ups are fully functional on phones, tablets and pcs)

Your info will be confidential from other volunteers, and our staff will be able to easily get you any important information about whatever way that you're helping.

Growing Into a Home - Spring 2023

There's a short parable Jesus told that's recounted in Matthew 13:31-32. It says, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches."

There's a lot of ways this parable speaks to what the Daily Bread Community Garden for GRIN and the community collaboration that happens there has meant to our church and those that participate over the last few years. We do hope it's a place the kingdom feels a little more present on earth as it is in heaven - where joy and thriving and transformation happen for people and the world becomes a little more full of grace and justice and dignity and hope. We also started small and without a lot of specific expectation other than that we'd try to do a worthy thing as faithfully as we could, and let God make of it what it could be without us stressing about forcing things or getting a certain level of recognition or achievement. It has been incredible to see how things have been able to grow and develop because of the branches of connection a whole range of people have made with us and each other in just a few years.

This year, the idea that really hits home for us is that growth and development lead not just to a big impressive plant to look at, or a giant yield of a particular crop output, but to a sense of home for people. Thanks to generosity and support, we've been able to expand again this year - with 3 more boxes on the ground of the garden and 5 "accessibility boxes" that are raised up on stilts. We have a beautiful range of people that participate in the garden with all kinds of life circumstances and experiences. We've been feeling called to keep trying to respond to people's efforts to reach out, connect, and participate with the same energy and commitment in hosting and cultivating an environment where all kinds of folks in all kinds of circumstances can thrive in how they put themselves out there.

These accessibility boxes are a big part of that. Whether it's folks who come participate using wheel chairs or other devices that assist mobility, or folks that get a big boost in participation if their kneeling, crouching, bending over or can be kept to a minimum. We know this will be conducive to folks who already serve with us participating more fully, and they'll hopefully help in more people feeling more welcome in having a place to participate and contribute.

I should note that this is especially exciting for our relationship with a couple key partners who we are so thankful have found a sense of home together with us and especially in connection with the garden - Goodwill day groups, and the GLHS Builder's Club. The Builder's club made these boxes as part of a range of projects they've stepped up to do with us especially this past school year, and they also do a lot of similar projects for other community groups to grow their skills while giving to the community - and it's always fun to see them out in our parking lot or garage working away with inspiring energy and admirable support of each other. Goodwill folks also do a range of things with us, including the garden, and have helped guide us to this accessibility expansion goal with their particular passion for participating and our hope that our friends using chairs and other things to assist mobility will feel as welcome and fully included for contribution as possible.

We have hopes about more ways to grow and develop in these areas, including creating a paved area or wooden deck under the boxes that will be most conducive for assisted mobility in the long term. If that sounds compelling to you, we'd love to collaborate on finding resources together to make that happen. Whatever the circumstances and timing though, we look forward to becoming more and more of a home for more and more folks in more and more circumstances in coming seasons.

Branching Out - 2022

If you've read our previous entry about the developments in the garden over time, you know we are happy to squeeze every last drop out of an agricultural metaphor to connect to things we're learning and experiencing together in the garden. This year, it's been exciting and fascinating to see how much things begin to take off from sowing even what at first seems the smallest seed.

In the garden, we see this plenty with our crops. This happens in simple ways, but can also manifest more dramatically like squash spilling out of boxes and taking over parts of the grass last year, or surprise pumpkins sprouting out of the compost pile this year. Like most metaphors and lessons we get in the garden, though, it's proven true in our process of gardening and building relationships together as partners, too. Our initial connection with Goodwill for occasional gardening together has turned into a weekly relationship full of joy in connection as well as productivity in garden tasks, and they graciously donated a greenhouse that wasn't being used at one of their facilities anymore that will expand our programming and capacity in all seasons for years to come. Making a few initial connections to different folks at OSU to learn more from information they provide to folks in the community has resulted in new regular leaders on our team - 2 embedded Master Gardener Volunteers with amazing knowledge and guidance to share, and 2 student interns with energy and capacity that continue to surprise and impress us. Our connections with people in the community has also continued to expand, from ongoing partners from Gahanna Lincoln High School and local scout troops to new connections like folks from the Make Gahanna Yours Farmers Market.

Another thing we're all learning about together this year is the strong connection between beauty and function we can see in gardening. The produce we grow doesn't just provide calories and nutrients in a completely neutral, only functional way. Sights and smells draw us in. Amazing flavors and combinations can make eating full of joy and meaning, not just necessity. What starts in nature even inspires human creativity with recipes and cooking. We've also enjoyed branching more and more into the beauty of gardening in addition to the function of growing produce that becomes healthy food for our neighbors. This year we have a giant sunflower circle that is a great shady spot for private contemplation, good conversation with friends, or beautiful pictures to remember feeling connected to nature. We also have planted patches for cut flowers throughout the garden that provide lovely atmosphere for our work, and can be clipped and shared with friends in the community like folks we work with in local retirement communities.

There's always a chance to experience these metaphors, lessons and inspirations in your life as well. Whatever level of experience you have, or type of participation is most appealing to you (even just being a relational presence with less actual gardening), there's a place for you in what the community is doing together here. You can click on the links above to see a schedule and sign up, or email or for more info.

Deepening Roots - Summer 2021

One of the neat things about nature and gardening is not just the diversity of types of plants to raise, learn about, and enjoy, but also the diversity of how they thrive and grow. We've certainly experienced that so far in the GRIN Produce Garden this year, with some crops like radishes growing so fast we could barely keep up with them even early in the growing season, and have already turned over a couple plantings, and other plants looking like we might be barely bringing them along before suddenly exploding into impressive size and yield - which has happened with our cucumbers in particular the last couple weeks.

This is a nice metaphor for the development of our garden overall as things have developed from when the season started this spring. We went into the early spring with 10 total boxes, but were able to add 4 more for a total of 14 by mid-May! We've had 2 big group volunteer days with over 50 people at each event thanks to wonderful partnerships around the community with all sorts of groups, and especially scouts and student service organizations. We also built a beautiful picket fence to look a little more official and mark where we can continue growing.

We hoped and planned for a lot of that, but there have also been wonderful things we didn't anticipate until stuff got rolling this year. A dedicated volunteer donated and helped install an irrigation system to make garden upkeep more consistent more easily. We've established a weekly partnership on Thursday with an excursion group from Goodwill that give us some of the most enjoyable relational times together in the garden we're experiencing. And finally, we've gotten the chance to partner with a GLHS group to do some beekeeping on another part of our grounds to integrate more elements of conservation and cultivation into our overall mission.

All that to say, there's amazing and even surprising things to see growing in lots of ways around are garden this year, and we're so thankful. It's also never the wrong time to connect and give things a shot in any way you feel capable or interested - even if you didn't know about things right at the beginning of the season, or you're worried it'll feel like you're popping in all of a sudden in the middle of things - that's all just part of the natural process we're going through, and it's all good. Just click on the volunteer link above to get in our online portal, or email for more info, and let's see how we can thrive together.

For Everything There is a Season - Spring 2021

When most people think of gardens, they think most of spring. The anticipation that goes with planting seeds and bulbs and thinking of what will grow throughout the upcoming year. The first green sprouts harkening the transition from winter. The colorful blooms that begin to sprout bringing beauty and the sense of energy with accompanying birds and animals we begin to see as well.

That's no less true for our GRIN Produce Garden, but that doesn't mean there haven't been lots of signs of life since we kicked things off in the late summer/early fall last year. First, we were excited to have great harvests with our first two launching boxes that we planted fall vegetables in. From those 2 boxes, over about 2.5 months, we were able to bring 80 pounds of fresh produce to GRIN! It was a great, manageable, start, and gives so much encouragement when we think about having more boxes with more time and what that can mean for addressing food insecurity in our community this year and in future years.

Second, our volunteers were definitely not hibernating just because the garden was dormant through the winter. A dedicated team stayed diligent to planning and preparing what would be needed for a more ambitious season in 2021. A planting and cultivating plan was established for all the different types of vegetables that will be grown this year, and it was coordinated with the feedback from GRIN and the neighbors for what they'll enjoy and use most. A grant was written and awarded from the Columbus Foundation and joined with other donations from individuals and local businesses to significantly expand the growing capacity of the garden. New volunteering partnerships were established with local scouting groups, Gahanna Lincoln and other local schools, and other invested individuals. Most exciting, though, was the building of 8 more boxes to bring the total to 10 boxes (as of April 2021 - with a few more expected through the year) that can grow vegetables for our neighbors!

We're so thankful for all these opportunities, all the relationships, and all the support. We're very excited for what we know God will be growing in the garden - both tangibly with the actual plants and vegetables, and intangibly (but just as substantively) with friendships, service, learning and enjoyment.

We'd love for anyone who cares about fighting food insecurity and/or who enjoys or is curious about a fun outdoor activity like garden to feel welcome to join us in this endeavor - in ways big and small, in the dirt or in the office, growing plants or helping grow resources, and more! You can click on the link above to easily plug in to participation opportunities we'll have throughout the year as special projects or ongoing tasks, or contact us at to ask questions, make a referral, or start a conversation about the garden. We're very excited for every connection, and hope anyone interested in this has a great and fruitful year.

"Planting Seeds" for an Exciting New Vision - July & August 2020

When the coronavirus pandemic hit this past spring, a giant swirl of emotions, thoughts, and questions arose in response - How can we stay safe? What do we need to understand? Besides people's health, what types of impact will this have? How will this impact worship, relationships, and ministry in my church? What should we be noticing and how should we respond when needs for help emerge?

That was true for our church, too, and we're very thankful God prompted us to keep those considerations of how to help at the front of our brains in the midst of all the things we tried to juggle. As some of us had those conversations, recognition of an opportunity emerged - stimulus checks were going out, and while many people would really need them, for some of us less immediately impacted they were more of a bonus. Could we take the focus on increased need of the virus, and any resources we had that didn't have a current outlet, and work collectively to maximize the moment for something that could have immediate and long term impact?

The idea of a Community Produce Garden was born. Some of us had some financial resources that could be designated. Our church has plenty of space on our grounds. We have a wonderful partner in our neighborhood in GRIN who could make sure produce got to people with food insecurity in our community, and who was looking for more healthy, fresh produce options. This could be a really amazing opportunity (and not just for lots of bad spiritual jargon puns).

But it's not easy to actually implement even the most promising ideas. It took figuring out what capacity seemed possible from the resources we had... at least getting started with a plan that made sense for people to work on... convening a team that was able to put some work in... and anticipating the ways to connect with those outside our church as part of ensuring things don't end up quickly petering out. As the idea from spring moved forward into the summer realization that things had to get moving soon to even meet a goal of a strong roll out in a full growth season for 2021, a motivated team came together and things started taking off.

The spark of inspiration was that we already were in position to start something small with fall vegetables. Build a kind of preview corner right now of what the Community Produce Garden can become by next spring and into the future. Some impact begins for people struggling right now especially from the economic impact of coronavirus. More people in our church and in the community can physically see and touch that something is going on, and will be more likely to want to, and understand how to chip in to keep the vision going to become something more ambitious.

On the rainy evening of August 3, 2020, the first part (beyond our volunteers) of the Community Produce Garden became real - our first two sample/preview/example/beta boxes were built and installed on the lawn between our parking lots. There will be plenty more to come (not least soil and plants) in the next few days, weeks, and months to bring this project to "fruition" (sorry sometimes it's actually hard not to do one). We'll be excited to post more updates that we hope you'll keep an eye out for.

Even more so, we'll be excited to share this work with you and see it be helpful in our community - all as guided, empowered, and sustained by God. If any of this sounds interesting to you in any way, please contact Pastor Robb to discuss options. Whether it's financial contribution, linking partnerships, in-kind donations, or becoming a regular or specific project volunteer, it will all make a big difference and be a wonderful way to be "rooted" together in common cause. (That's the last one for now, I promise.)