GAR­DEN

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - Dk­ing@dis­patch.com @DanaeKing

and a lack of food se­cu­rity and ed­u­ca­tion on the North­east Side.

Penn-Nabrit hopes oth­ers will be in­spired to do the same.

So does the Rev. Heber Brown III, who’s made a ca­reer of ex­tolling and evan­ge­liz­ing the ben­e­fits of churches us­ing their land for farm­ing and gar­den­ing.

Brown started the Black Church Food Se­cu­rity Net­work in Bal­ti­more, Mary­land, and will speak Tues­day at the Methodist The­o­log­i­cal School in Ohio, 3081 Colum­bus Pike in Delaware. He will share his work, which helps churches be­gin farm­ing and gar­den­ing on church-owned land and links them with farm­ers to cre­ate an al­ter­na­tive lo­cal food sys­tem.

One of the peo­ple at­tend­ing the event will be Penn-Nabrit, who uses her church’s 4,000-square­foot, 37-bed gar­den to host ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren and adults, wel­come the com­mu­nity for events and help ease food in­se­cu­rity by sell­ing the food grown in the gar­den Vol­un­teer gar­dener Alisa Isaac, right, gets a hug from Paula Penn-Nabrit at the Charles Madi­son Nabrit Memo­rial Gar­den. for $1 a pound. The bounty in­cludes or­ganic fruits, veg­eta­bles, herbs and flow­ers.

The U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture has iden­ti­fied the neigh­bor­hood sur­round­ing the church as a “low-in­come, low-ac­cess area,” with 33 per­cent of the house­holds be­ing low­in­come, Penn-Nabrit said. The clos­est gro­cery store is more than 4 miles away, she said, and just over 13 per­cent of the ZIP code’s res­i­dents are with­out ac­cess to a car.

Brown said most churches al­ready have the re­sources

they need to start a com­mu­nity gar­den: land, a kitchen, class­rooms, a bus and, most im­por­tantly, a com­mu­nity.

“A lot of com­mu­nity gar­dens suf­fer be­cause they don’t have a builtin com­mu­nity that has a deep mo­ti­va­tion in or­der to sus­tain that gar­den,” he said. “We need sys­tems that con­tinue gen­er­a­tion af­ter gen­er­a­tion.”

Faith com­mu­ni­ties, no mat­ter what re­li­gion, he said, also have a moral and the­o­log­i­cal obli­ga­tion to serve and to be stew­ards of their com­mu­ni­ties.

“There’s a greater and big­ger mis­sion, and through our work (we’re) try­ing to help in­sti­gate and in­spire a sys­tem­atic so­lu­tion to a sys­temic prob­lem,” Brown said.

Gar­dens can teach valu­able lessons, Penn-Nabrit said.

“He started us in a gar­den for a rea­son,” she said of God and the Gar­den of Eden. She said gar­dens teach hu­mans about hu­mil­ity and equal­ity.

And peo­ple who gar­den also learn about life and death, pa­tience, and that you reap what you sow, Penn-Nabrit said.

“There’s a di­rect cor­re­la­tion be­tween the ef­fort you put in and the har­vest you have,” she said. “A gar­den is such a great way to see that ... you have to be dili­gent.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Charles Madi­son Nabrit Memo­rial Gar­den, visit www.telos­inc.org. To learn more and reg­is­ter for Dr. Heber Brown III’s faith and com­mu­nity gar­dens event at the Methodist The­o­log­i­cal School in Ohio, visit https://www.mtso. edu/the­o­log­i­cal­com­mons/ faith-food-and-flour­ish­ing/.

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