Ce­cil­ton par­ish grows pro­duce for com­mu­nity



— Bright green leaves are start­ing to poke out of the dirt in the straw bale gar­den re­cently in­stalled out­side Zion United Methodist Church.

The gar­den is cur­rently grow­ing peas, car­rots, radishes, let­tuce, spinach and beets in the bales, said Brenda Ross, a layper­son with the church who is co­or­di­nat­ing the project. Once fully grown, that pro­duce will go into the com­mu­nity, she said.

Ross had the idea and mem­bers of Ce­cil­ton United Methodist Par­ish’s Searchlight Bi­ble study group de­cided to help make it a re­al­ity af­ter dis­cussing it dur­ing one of their Wed­nes­day meet­ings, said Dave Segermark, co-chair­man of the Ce­cil­ton Par­ish trus­tees. The par­ish in­cludes Zion UMC and St. Paul’s UMC.

The group looked into other ideas, such as cre­at­ing raised beds, but de­cided against it, Segermark said.

“We’re look­ing for ways to get out of the box,” Segermark said.


Peo­ple are now stop­ping to look and ask ques­tions about the gar­den, vis­i­ble to those trav­el­ing down West Main Street. The gar­den is even in­spir­ing oth­ers to try this new style of gar­den­ing, Segermark said.

One of the ad­van­tages of this gar­den is that it is low­main­te­nance and takes care of it­self, Ross said. Peo­ple do not need to bend down far to work on the gar­den due to the height of the bales, which are about 2 feet high. Timed soaker hoses turn on ev­ery six hours to wa­ter the plants, Ross said.

The gar­den has done well so far, but Ross said the group may have planted the gar­den too early due to the in­sta­bil­ity of the weather.

Plas­tic cov­er­ing the seeds, which kept some heat in and the seeds safe, was re­cently re­moved, Ross said. Gar­den­ers set up the bales on Feb. 27 and then planted seeds on March 12, she said. In or­der to pro­tect the grow­ing plants from rab­bits, a wire fence was built, and shiny strips of tape were put up to keep the birds away, she said.

Ross said the other half of the gar­den will be planted later in the sea­son. Those bales will in­clude toma­toes, cu­cum­bers, pota­toes, cab­bage, pep­pers and beans, she said.

Frank Cole­man, a trustee of the par­ish, said it is “re­ward­ing” to work on the gar­den and shows peo­ple that veg­eta­bles “don’t come in cans,” but from the earth.

The pro­duce will not be for sale, but will go into the com­mu­nity, Ross said. The pro­duce is sched­uled to go to such places as Faith In Ac­tion, a food pantry, and Clar­i­vaux Farm, which of­fers tran­si­tional hous­ing. Pro­duce will also go into Ce­cil­ton, Ear­leville and War­wick.

Jackie Comp­ton, vice pres­i­dent of Faith in Ac­tion, said she re­ceived a call from folks in­volved with the gar­den ask­ing if the or­ga­ni­za­tion would want any pro­duce for their food pantry. The or­ga­ni­za­tion is now wait­ing to re­ceive the pro­duce from the church, she said.

“We are very grate­ful to the Ce­cil­ton Par­ish,” Comp­ton said.


Dave Segermark, Frank Cole­man and Brenda Ross look at their straw bale gar­den Fri­day.

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