“Billow the Sails”

Malletts Bay Congregational Church – Colchester, VT

Dan Dougherty had been trying to get his church to start a community garden on excess land the church owns for years, but unsuccessfully. “I had seen an article in Seven Days about Victory Gardens and it was like BAM! Most of our congregation will be able to relate to these as most had served or been in close contact with a family member or neighbor planting victory gardens. This could billow the sails again!” Signing on to the Vermont Victory Gardens project gave Dan the boost he needed to get things up and going. The target recipients of the harvest would be the Colchester Food Shelf, congregation members on fixed incomes, neighbors and others experiencing food poverty. “At this time the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic was really being felt by everyone,” says Dan. 

Dan started the project with aspirations of a large operation–12 beds filled with produce for donation–but were able to acquire and fill only three raised beds. As Dan puts it: “The Sunday this project was to be presented to the Trustees the pastor did a sermon on the feeding of 5,000+ with two loaves and five fish! That hit me like a ton of bricks! We are a small congregation, most members are over 65 and not everyone is in perfect health. Three beds? It’s better than zero beds! We may not be able to feed 5,000 but if we can feed one it will of all have been worthwhile!”

Being involved with this project got people from Dan’s congregation inspired. All who pitched in were so excited by even little ways they could impact. Dan and his crew “look forward to seeing what kind of growth we can make over the winter to get growing again in the spring.”

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