Out of the Garden Project 2013

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This year’s Honor Card for the Out of the Garden Project was created specifically for them. I am honored each year to have my artwork grace their Honor Cards, given for each $5 donated to their amazing work of providing food for school age children and their families throughout the Triad. You can read here and here about the last two Honor Cards and more about their work in Guilford and Forsyth counties. Like them on Facebook and sign up to receive their emailed newsletter. You will love getting involved in this organization!!

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The director, Don Milholin, contacted me and asked if I would write a piece for their newsletter about this year’s Honor Card image. I was delighted to be asked and it was sent out on Monday of this week. I’m including it here for you to read, in hopes that you will join me in supporting this worthy cause–providing much needed food for children and their families who would not otherwise have it. The Honor Cards are available year round, but make a fabulous gift for teachers, co-workers, and friends on your Christmas List!

Gardening

My husband says that I’m a “planter.”  I like to dig a small hole and place in it a fledgling plant, water it good, and whisper sweetly to it—grow! Then I walk away and return in a few weeks fully expecting the plant to be thriving. He, on the other hand, tends and nurtures the plant day after day. He weeds and waters. He churns up the soil around the plant to allow it to breathe. He is a “gardener.”

This whole beautiful earth is the garden in which we live and move and have our being. Each of us is invited, even called, to tend and nurture this garden of ours. To see to it that it thrives. To not just poke something in the ground and walk away, but to daily encourage its growth and vitality.

This year’s honor card is a very simple depiction of this garden we live in. The children you see in and amongst the corn, tomatoes and sunflowers are every bit the vegetables and flowers that grow here in our earth-garden.  It is an image of children thriving and happy, with their basic needs met, allowing them to frolic and play in the beauty of the garden. It’s an illustrated version of what we want to see as reality for each and every child.

Yet, sadly, this is not reality for all children or their families. We are all aware of hunger’s devastation in countries overseas.  We may not be so aware of the hunger that grows like an aggressive weed right in our own backyard gardens!  I know of no better way to tend and nurture my small earth-garden patch than to participate with the Out of the Garden Project.

When my husband goes out to tend our garden, it doesn’t seem to take too much of his time. A bit of weeding, daily watering, picking off suckers from tomato plants. But it’s an ongoing work, small bits of time tending to the needs of the garden.  And when I join in it with him, the burden of effort is even lighter. That’s the beauty of our task in tending to the hunger issue here in the Triad: many hands make light work! Each of us, as we give to OOTGP, as we volunteer at the warehouse packing bags of food, as we help with the mobile pantries … any way we can donate a small (or big) amount of our resources in time and money will add up to huge growth in the vitality and thriving of the children here in our garden.

Won’t you join me, as I learn to be a gardener and not just a planter! It may not seem like we’re doing much. It may, at times, feel like the hunger weed just won’t be eradicated. But together we can achieve a thriving in the hearts, minds and bodies of children around us by even the smallest of efforts to help the Out of the Garden Project!

I’m grabbing my gardening gloves and spade … see you in the Garden!

Jennifer Edwards

jenniferedwards.com

***Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for one of my recently published books! Info here! Entries close at midnight tonite!

A Garden of Hope

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I spent a couple of hours working in the Garden this week!

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In December, you say?? Yes. This is a year-round Garden.

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A unique garden whose rows and vines are shelving structures.

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The food “grows” on these shelves and then gets harvested and bailed into bags

to be given to school children in Guilford and Forsyth counties.

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Please read more about this amazing Garden here!

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I’ve written about the Out of the Garden Project before, which you can read about here. I really do love the mission

that Don and Kristy Milholin have planted.  (Don pictured above)

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The growth of the Garden is astronomical: they now serve over 900 children and their families in over 50 schools.

 That’s 900+ bags of food EVERY WEEK OF THE SCHOOL YEAR!

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As you can see from my photos, the shelves are quite bare. A Winter Garden to be sure.

But this Garden needs to be producing all year round and especially so at the holidays!!

There are many ways you can help:

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If you’re local, you can give canned food and/or volunteer to pack and deliver bags!

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If you live anywhere, you can donate money! And this is the best part of it: For every $5 you give, you receive an Honor Card (the little painting is by yours truly. 🙂  This makes a wonderful gift to give on someone’s behalf.  The back of the card has a space for you to write the name of the person in whose honor you have donated to OOTGP.

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No matter where you live in this wide world of ours, consider giving in some way to those less fortunate than you.

In so doing you will bring hope to the children of the Garden!