Connellsville community ministries nurtures garden
Connellsville Area Community Ministries is hoping one corner of the city can be the start of “hopes and dreams” to spread throughout the city and beyond.
Dan and Shelby Guthrie, volunteers with Connellsville Area Community Ministries, said the prayers to have a vacant lot to start a community garden were answered earlier this year when local business owner Peter Jandura entered the ministries' building.
Jandura, who started a community garden on the corner of Pittsburgh Street and Crawford Avenue, said he wanted another community garden in his lot at the corner of Pittsburgh Street and Fairview Avenue and wanted to see if the ministry would be interested.
“There's no reason why people in this city should go hungry,” Jandura said.
The ministry agreed and at the beginning of June, they started going to work on the community garden, which Jandura named “The Corner of Hopes and Dreams.”
“We got them together to talk, and they worked out a plan with what they wanted to do,” said Chip Rowan, the ministry's executive director. “They all had the same desire and used property that was not being used.”
Rowan said the public is invited to plant food in the garden, maintain it and keep what they grow with the surplus going back to the ministry to help feed the hungry in the community.
“I think this is a great thing for the community,” said Shelby Guthrie.
Watermelon, squash, tomatoes, peppers, radishes, cucumbers and more has already been planted in the community garden.
But for Jandura and the ministry, they're hoping that more than vegetables will grow from the corner.
“This is an example for not just people in the county, but for the country,” Jandura said, adding that his first community garden sprouted a jungle of wild flowers, sun flowers and even something of a shrine to somebody's son in the military.
Along with a thriving community garden in the corner, Jandura said there's plans to have a mural painted on the wall to celebrate “The Corner of Hopes and Dreams”.
Shelby Guthrie said she would like not only to teach people how to tend a garden, but also how to do things like canning the produce.
Another goal is to make the garden a self-sustaining community project and be successful enough to spark encouragement in other lot owners or the city to start other community gardens.
“We need one of these on every block,” Jandura said.
Currently the ministry is looking for volunteers to plant and help maintain the garden—whether it's for weeding or watering—and there's also a need for donation of garden tools and other gardening items.
Anyone interested can contact the Connellsville Area Community Ministries at 724-626-1120.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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