By Marlena Nip,
Food and Faith Coordinator, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest
As you walk through the streets of Seattle, take notice of the changing landscapes at neighborhood churches, mosques and synagogues. Houses of worship throughout King County are teaming up with Seattle Tilth’s new program, the Food and Faith Initiative, to strengthen our local food system by growing fresh produce for those who are food insecure.
Our Food and Faith Initiative provides support for faith-based organizations who would like to grow food. This support can take many forms. A house of worship can apply for new garden beds, attend gatherings and educational workshops, and connect with other faith groups who grow food in an ecumenical setting.
Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation (WUU) connected with Food and Faith Initiative to expand their mission to feed the hungry in West Seattle. The congregation’s Social Justice Council, organized by church member Regina Brennan, had already been gardening and donating food, but wanted to expand their garden to increase yields. She teamed up with Rose Sheppard and Pastor Peg Morgan from WUU applied for and received two raised garden beds from Seattle Tilth. Brennan explained, “We want our church garden to increase awareness in our community of the importance of growing food locally.”
News of the garden project cultivated a surge of enthusiasm from church members. Many members worked together to build the new raised beds. The new WUU garden has bolstered the church’s social justice mission and engagement of members. The fresh produce will go to West Seattle Food Bank and also to members of the WUU congregation.
Inspired by the momentum of the expanded garden, WUU graciously donated half of their monthly tithe to support other faith groups who wish to grow food for others. Along with WUU, eleven garden beds have been built at faith groups this year! If you know of a faith group interested in learning more, contact Derek Farmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.