God is doing amazing things with The Ramsey Garden at Quinn Chapel A.M.E., in Jefferson City, Mo. Under the pointed leadership of Rev. Anthony McPherson, the congregation came together to build a thriving garden to build on the exceptional history of this church!
Named for one of the original families who came together in 1850 to form the society that would eventually become Quinn Chapel, the garden pays homage to self-sufficiency and community, while taking on a mission of combating food insecurity. Both Violet and Elijah Ramsey were born enslaved. When Violet was freed, she started a washer woman business, and purchased freedom for her husband, Elijah Sr., and two of her children, Elijah Jr. and Harrison. Violet also purchased land; which many of Quinn’s earliest church services were held in the Ramsey’s log cabin. Elijah Jr would grow up and deed the first property to the church.
After years of talking about it, several church members launched the garden in March 2021. Located on land directly behind the church, in the first year they planted six raised beds in an 18- by 24-square-foot space and grew lettuce, spinach, peppers, mustard and collard greens, onions and sweet potatoes; they also had limited success with tomatoes. Coming back stronger in 2022, the gardeners expanded the perimeter to 30- by 39-square feet, added more raised beds for a total of 14, and turned up a section for in-ground planting. As of August 2022, more than 25 pounds of produce has been distributed to church members, neighbors and at community events.
Founding member Lori Simms, who first broached the initiative, says that she is in awe of all that God is doing. “Watching seedlings sprout through the soil, harvesting, weighing, packaging and distributing fresh produce just amazes me. I had never done anything like this, and I am so thankful that God is using us in this way.”
Following the advice of the pastor, Rev. Anthony McPherson, the group incorporated the garden as a registered non-profit with the State of Missouri and have obtained 501©3 status. Discussions are underway to further expand in 2023 and to cultivate more volunteers. Jefferson City is home to HBCU Lincoln University of Missouri. We are reaching out to Lincoln and hope to draw volunteers from the students as well as looking to the faculty for advice and consulting.
We are excited to see what God has planned for The Ramsey Garden because we know it’s going to get better and better. Learn more about them by visiting their Facebook page: click here.