What We Do
We strive to deliver Jesus’ love in four ways:
The first is by feeding the hungry. We generate about 12,000 pounds of fresh produce each year for hunger relief ministries. Most of that goes to the Hilliard Summer Lunch Program and to food panties supported by Mid-Ohio Foodbank.
The second is by welcoming immigrants. We use the gardening process and the food it generates to welcome folks from Iraq, Somalia, and other troubled regions. We do that by building friendships, enhancing English language skills, and learning about each others’ cultures as we garden together and share different ways to cook the crops we grow. We also give a lot of our production to participants in SON Ministries' Family ESOL program.
The third is preserving God’s wonderful creation by diverting restaurant and yard waste from landfills into our compost bins. Over the last three seasons we have turned more than 1,000 cubic yards of waste into compost and mulch to recharge our soil. That is made possible by lots of compostable materials provided by Crimson Cup Coffee, Mission Coffee, Site Maintenance, our immediate neighbors, and by the 3,500+ members of Upper Arlington Lutheran Church (“UALC”).
The fourth is helping each other walk more closely with Jesus. We do that through Bible study and mutual prayer support
How We Do It
We are an all-volunteer operation. Most of our volunteers come from Cornerstone Christian Fellowship and UALC. We have core of group of about a dozen volunteers, supplemented by fluxuating numbers of other volunteers and our ESOL friends. We have been blessed with high quality volunteers; three of our folks have won the “Community Gardener of the Year” award from Franklin Park Conservatory’s Growing To Green program.
We seek to maximize production because more production means less hunger and more welcoming for our ESOL friends. We therefore work from a common plan to get as we can from our space. We grow spring, summer, and fall crops. We also use companion planting and season extending techniques to enhance production. We became a completely organic operation during the 2014 growing season.
We began in 2008 with a 40 by 80-foot plot of lousy soil, tilled/amended it, learned as we went forward, and ended up providing about 1,000 Lbs. of produce to two hunger programs. We improved our operations in 2009 by more thorough planning, further amending our soil, recruiting more volunteers, adding an irrigation system and protective fencing. The result was that we tripled our impact—we provided 3,060 Lbs. of produce to six hunger programs.
We had to relocate in 2010 because the land our original garden was on was sold. Although that was demanding, it allowed us to almost double our production space. We also improved our irrigation system, refined our crop sequencing/selection, involved more volunteers, and all that paid off—Our production increased by 278% over the previous year.
We further expanded during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, both in terms of adding growing space and broadening our ministries. We added additional beds, and our immigrant and composting ministries.
We have been one of Central Ohio’s Hub Gardens since 2012.
Where We Are
Our garden is on UALC's Mill Run Campus, in northwest Columbus, Ohio, literally across the street from Hilliard Ohio. Our Street address is 3500 Mill Run Dr., Columbus, Ohio, 43026.
We have 12,500 square feet of growing space, distributed between 53 beds. We are blessed with a storage shed built as an Eagle Scout project, and 48 cubic yards of compost bins built by another diligent Eagle Scout. Our water comes from the Mill Run retention pond/irrigation system for most of the season and from UALC’s Mill Run Building at the very beginning and end of each growing season.
Who Supports Us
UALC has generously provided our operating funding. That has been supplemented by grants from Scotts Miracle-Gro , City of Columbus & Franklin County, The Columbus Foundation, Franklin Park Conservatory’s Growing To Green Program, Columbus SOUP, and Johnny's Selected Seeds. We have also been blessed by donations from Decker Construction, Home Depot in Hilliard, Darby Creek Nursery, Strader's Garden Center, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Crimson Cup Coffee, Mission Coffee, and Site Maintenance.
The best way to reach is through one of our Garden Stewards: