Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Glenn DeMott

We lost a good friend: Glenn Demott.  Glenn was a key part of our garden and was recognized as the Central Ohio Community Gardener of the Year several years ago. Here's a reprise of the post announcing & explaining that.

As you read it,  keep in mind that it only captures a small portion of the good this humble  and unassuming guy did.

Also know that Glenn is now with Jesus, his Lord and Savior. I bet the gardens there are spectacular and will be even better now that Glenn's helping tend them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Glenn DeMott: Community Gardener of the Year!

Every year the Franklin Park Conservatory's Growing to Green Program makes awards to honor outstanding gardens and gardeners in Central Ohio. Tonight our own Glenn DeMott was recognized as the 2010 Community Gardener of the Year. Here's why:

Glenn’s contribution to our garden’s goals

We have two goals for this year: to increase the quantity and quality of food we produce for hunger relief programs and to involve more people in our garden. Glenn has been instrumental in helping us accomplish both.

He singlehandedly brought about a significant increase in the quantity and variety of our produce. Glenn dramatically increased the size of our spring crop, taking it from 200 Lbs. last year to 1,618.9 Lbs. this year—an 800% increase! He also expanded the range of produce that made up that crop. Last spring we only grew mustard greens and turnips. Glenn expanded that by introducing many new crops: peas, onions, beets, radishes, kohlrabi, spinach, potatoes, cabbage, garlic, and lettuce. All of that was Glenn’s doinghe pushed us to do a spring crop when some us didn’t want to, he expanded the range of vegetables grown, and he did the lion’s share of the work to get the crop planted, nurtured and harvested. His initiative and effort resulted in hunger programs receiving a lot of fresh produce at a time when it is generally unavailable (May and early June).

Glenn has also been successful in involving new people in our garden. Quantitatively, he has exponentially increased the number of core volunteers. We went from a group of 5 regulars last year to approximately about 20 this year. Qualitatively, he has increased the diversity of our group. We went from a homogeneous group of middle aged gardeners to a group that now includes young moms, school children, and retirees. Glenn brought those new faces into our garden and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Glenn’s unique focus on the “least among us” has intensified our impact

Glenn has made two unique contributions that have fine tuned our overall effort to serve the “least among us.” See Matthew 25:40.

The first is his focus on prison ministry. He has made a point of directing a portion of our produce to Harbor on the Hill, a ministry that helps ex-offenders grow into productive lives by helping them immediately after they’re released from prison. Glenn’s focus on that ministry helped feed folks that few others would give the time of day.

The second is his attention to children. He has made real efforts to get kids involved in our garden. He started a spin off garden for our church’s pre-school program, involved children from our vacation Bible school in our main garden, and brought junior high school students into help plant our spring crops.

Glenn helped us meet the challenges of relocating and expanding our garden 

Our major challenge this year was relocating and expanding our garden. The land we previously gardened was sold, so we had to start from scratch at a new site. Further, we had significant “growing pains” because our new garden is twice the size of our old garden, and expansion brought its own issues. Glenn helped us meet those challenges in two ways.

First, he has devoted an incredible amount of time to the garden. That started last winter when he researched new techniques and crops, including many of the new spring crops discussed above. It continued through the spring as he recruited and worked with volunteers to do the hard work of getting our new beds in place and cleaned up. Since then he has spent countless hours thinning, watering, weeding, and harvesting our crops—most of which he planted! No other volunteer has put more time into our garden.

The second is in his generosity. He purchased seeds, tomato cages, and stakes for us. He has lent us many invaluable tools, everything from seed planters to tillers.

We simply couldn’t have accomplished all that we have without Glenn’s contributions of time and resources.

The specific impacts of Glenn’s contributions

There have been two specific sets of impacts from Glenn’s work this year, one tangible and intangible.

The tangible impacts are what we’ve been able to produce. So far this year we’ve generated 4,167.93 Lbs. of produce for hunger programs—That’s 192% more than we produced at this time last year. That has benefited homeless individuals fed by the Faith Mission, families served by Lutheran Social Services’ food pantries, ex-offenders trying to get on their feet through Harbor on the Hill, and Somali refugees served by the Hilliard Summer Lunch program. More than half of that food came from Glenn’s spring crop, he has been indispensable in producing our summer crop, and he is already planning our fall crop. Glenn is responsible for feeding a lot of people.

The intangible impact is on the “community” part of our community garden. Although we were pretty good at gardening, we weren’t too successful in building community before Glenn got involved. He changed that by bringing in many new folks, as discussed above. But beyond the raw numbers, he has really gotten the new people engaged. More than one has commented on how Glenn’s patient instruction helped them get into this new activity. That wouldn’t have happened without Glenn.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lenten Meditation Week Three: Fruitfulness Requires Healthy Responses To Pressure

He dug it all around…”  (Isaiah 5:2 NASB)

This aspect of God’s garden preparation dealt with soil compaction. That happens when dirt is compressed by outside pressure. The pressure can come from regular foot traffic, wagons, and farm equipment. When that happens water and roots can’t penetrate it as well and fruitfulness suffers. Research verifies that germination rates drop, plants are less healthy when they do germinate, and yield less than they otherwise would. That isn’t a temporary thing; that same research has found that compaction and its results last for years after the pressure is gone.  Compaction, and its adverse effects, are more likely and more pronounced when soil is wet or not rich in organic material (like clay). See Soil Compaction: Causes, Concerns, and Cures (Univ. of Wis. 2008).

Fortunately, there are ways to deal with compaction. The best are preventative: to avoid pressuring the soil as much as possible, by adding organic material, and by letting it regularly be broken up by crops with strong tap roots and through the freezing and thawing of winter. Once compaction occurs it can be undone by tilling the soil and adding organic material (the more the better).

We see the same dynamics in our lives. We are all subject to pressures that can compress us to the point of diminishment if we do not respond properly. They may be big stressors or just relatively minor, but repetitive, ones.  Like soil, we tighten up and that makes us less likely to bring forth new things, and makes whatever we bring forth less attractive and less fruitful. And that will be more pronounced if we don’t have a lot of the spiritual equivalents of organic material—prayer, scripture, and time with other believers—in our lives.

Scripture describes that phenomena, and ways to deal with it. Let’s dig into it and see what we learn:

Pressure and its results:

Breaks from pressure filled routines:

The spiritual equivalents of organic material:




Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lenten Meditation Week Two: Fruitfulness Sometimes Requires Hardship

My loved one had a vineyard
 on a fertile hillside.

                                                                        Isaiah 5:1 (NIV)

It’s not easy to garden on a hillside. There are erosion and irrigation issues. If nothing else you are going to spend a lot of extra energy walking up and down the hill.  That’s why most folks avoid hills.  See Gardening on a Hillside (Sonoma County Master Gardeners 2013); Where to Put Your Vegetable Garden (Iowa St. Univ. Extension 2013).

But sometimes you have to put up with those things.  Maybe that’s where the only, or the best, soil is available.  Maybe the kind of crop you want grows best on a hill. Sometimes you just have to deal with the hassles of hillside gardening if you want to be fruitful.

Maybe that’s the dynamic God is getting at here—that we sometimes have to travel a hard path to get to where we will bear the best fruit. We see that pattern multiple times in scripture. Joseph had to go through slavery to get to a position where he could provide for Israel. Moses had to spend 40 years in the backside of a desert before he was ready to lead Israel out of Egypt.  David had to be chased by Saul for years before he was able to give Israel the leadership God wanted for it.

The same thing can be true for us, even if God doesn’t call us to  such epic tasks. He sometimes makes us go where we rather wouldn’t because He knows that’s where, or how we’ll get to the place where, we’ll bear the best fruit. This week’s verses speak to that dynamic. Let’s see what they say.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lenten Meditation Week One: God Calls Us To Him

“Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard”   Isaiah 5:1 (New Revised Standard Version)

Let’s start with the very first thing: God wants us to know Him better.  He therefore reaches out to invite us into more fruitful relationship with Him. 

He did so here through the prophet Isaiah. And He did it through two particularly powerful media: song and imagery that those in that agricultural society could all understand.  God really wanted the folks He was addressing to "get it."

We’ll see in this week’s readings that this was not an isolated incident.  God  repeatedly invites us to know Him better.  He does that—and does it so many times—because He wants to share his goodness with and through us.

So how do we respond?  In two ways.

First, listen for Him.  Turn off  the TV, the radio, the computer, the tablet, the MP3 player so you can focus on Him.  Read scripture and then think about what you’ve read, not just then, but throughout the day as you do mindless tasks or have otherwise dead time.  That gives you the chance to hear God. I guarantee what you hear from Him will be far better than whatever would have come from your electronic device.
Second, keep the device turned off and talk to God. Ask Him to help you focus on Him; it isn’t always easy, so you’ll need His help. It may take a few minutes, but He will respond if you keep after Him. Ask Him to show you things from the scripture you read that day that you didn’t “get” before. Again, do that throughout the day as you have empty time (while you are driving is a great time for this). It will be worth the effort.

OK, enough commentary.  Here are some of the many passages where God reaches out to draw us to Him:

Mark 4:7, 18-19  (by negative example)