Black churches that work together to grow food in a systematic way can do far more to create sustainable solutions for food apartheid than they can if they only work by themselves. That’s one of the messages that was communicated and demonstrated on Sunday, June 26, 2022 at Liberty Grace Church of God in West Baltimore. Nearly 25 people representing churches from across the city and county came together to share information, seeds and nutrient-rich produce. The gathering was organized by The Black Church Food Security Network (BCFSN) in an effort to continue cultivating the development of an official chapter of our work in the city. BCFSN is establishing Local Coordinating Committees anchored by Black Churches in strategic locations across the United States in order to help more churches grow food on their land, buy from Black farmers, and establish food supply chains that connect farms, churches and communities. So far, we have established Local Coordinating Committees in Jacksonville, Florida and Baltimore, Maryland with more cities on tap.
At this gathering in Baltimore, we heard an inspiring message from Dr. Terris King, pastor of Liberty Grace Church of God, and Mrs. Teresa Stephens, Director of Neighborhood & Outreach Development at the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development. Mrs. Stephens shared information about the city’s Water Access Program which can help churches save money by tapping into the city’s water lines for their gardens instead of using water from the church. Many of our church garden ministries identified access to water as a major obstacle to their growing efforts. This program provides welcome relief.
The group also showed great enthusiasm when free seeds were provided courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Mother Viris Neufville, head of Liberty Grace’s garden and its namesake, provided free greens to all who wanted some. Bouquets of romaine lettuce, kale, and collard greens were graciously given and received. We even sampled kale chips made from kale grown right in the garden!
We are so excited about churches coming together, deepening relationships and collaborating in strategic ways to promote health, wealth, and power in the Black community.
If you are a member or partner to an African American congregation in the Baltimore metropolitan area and would like to join this effort, please email firstname.lastname@example.org