The Black Church Food Security Network continues to grow!  We welcome New Mount Moriah AME Church in Jacksonville, Florida to our membership.  We salute and celebrate Pastor Sha’Reff Rashad, Lady Sharon Rashad and their entire congregation to this fellowship.  We interviewed them recently in order to learn more about their new church gardening effort.  Check it out!

When did New Mount Moriah establish its garden?

New Mt. Moriah is a new member of the Black Church Food Security Network.   We had our first Farm Day on April 15, 2022 when we got our grown tilled.  The very same day, the work started with a host of volunteers coming out to put their hands to the plow – so to speak.

What do you plan to grow this year?

Our next step after preparing the garden is to sit down with our core group and see what works for us NOW as far as planting goes.

Where will the produce from your garden go? (members? community? both?)

The food from our garden will go to our members, our community, and whoever is in need.

Why did your church move forward in starting a garden?

After [Dr. Heber Brown, III’s presentation in Jacksonville on Monday, March 14, 2022], we knew that the land that belonged to New Mt. Moriah was waiting for God to show us what HE wanted it to be used for.  We worship in one of the most needy communities in the Jacksonville area and it stands to reason that our desire to be a part of our community, to be a blessing to our members, to be a blessing to our community, and to use the land for God’s Glory – the community garden made sense.  Once we were connected with the Network and saw things like the Sanctuary Gardens, Soil to Sanctuary, and so many other things, we decided to go all in.  We had a member that threw out the thought of gardening on the property in the past, Bro. Calvin Mobley.  But as we know – All Things Are Done In God’s Time!  This is God’s Time.

How has the local neighborhood responded to your garden and how are they involved?

On the day we had the ground tilled, there was a lady sitting on her porch just watching.  Well that afternoon we all came out with hats, rakes, gloves and tools in hand, we invited her over.  She came right in and stayed from beginning to end.  Her name is Tanisha and that was a sign that our community will welcome this wonderful ministry.  Neighbor residents were walking by, driving by and stopped to talk and smile.  That warmed our hearts!

Can you tell me about your garden ministry team? (how many people? what kinds of backgrounds/skills?)

Our Garden Ministry Team is made up of our Health Ministry Team, our congregational experts, and the members of New Mt. Moriah who were delighted to volunteer tools, ideas and most of all – manpower.  Our first call for those interested in hearing the presentation by Dr. Laureen Husband saw nearly 50 members come out.  To our surprise, we had so many home gardeners, former gardeners, children of gardeners and those growing seasonings in the kitchen window.  We had them all.  Sis. Ora Dixon raised her hand and said “I have a tiller you are welcome to use”.  Bro. Thomas Pough has a tiller too!  By the time we had the meeting, members had gone out and gotten information on what we could plant – when, where, and how! WE HAVE THE TEAM! 

Do you accept volunteers from the public to help?

Absolutely, we welcome volunteers because at New Mt. Moriah, we love fellowship!

Can people make donation to support your garden?  If so, what’s the best way to chip in?

Anyone desiring to make a donation to support our garden can find us on Givelify under New Mount Moriah AME Church 

What other ideas do you have for your garden?

Through this effort, we have envisioned planting fruit trees around the property where the garden is planted so that members of the community can free share in our joy and love for the community.  Sitting on the property is a huge tree (see the video) where we are actively planning to use as a center point for outdoor events.  We have a Harvest Day Celebration annually and plan to make our garden a part of that celebration.  To God Be The Glory!