Coast church raises spirits and crops - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coast church raises spirits and crops

The bountiful garden is located behind Heritage United Methodist Church on Popp’s Ferry Road. (Photo source: WLOX) The bountiful garden is located behind Heritage United Methodist Church on Popp’s Ferry Road. (Photo source: WLOX)
Just about every kind of vegetable is growing there. (Photo source: WLOX) Just about every kind of vegetable is growing there. (Photo source: WLOX)
Fruit trees have just been planted to add to the nutritional mix. (Photo source: WLOX) Fruit trees have just been planted to add to the nutritional mix. (Photo source: WLOX)
D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) -

Churches are normally in the business of growing a person’s spirituality.  They don't normally grow tomatoes, corn and green beans, but one D'Iberville church is doing both.

The bountiful garden is located behind Heritage United Methodist Church on Popp’s Ferry Road. Just about every kind of vegetable is growing there. Fruit trees have just been planted to add to the nutritional mix.

What happened three years ago to allow this garden to spring to life? 

“We had a church member that said, ‘I wish we had a community garden. I've always wanted that.’ So we just took that idea and ran with it. We were trying to come up with a way that we could outreach in our community,” said Sheila Gillies, the church outreach director.

She added that plans for the future are growing just like the crops. 

“What our hope is, that we'll get more participation in the community that will come out and actually own this garden, and the food goes to anyone who wants it,” Gillies said.

The garden has been a big success because the members care deeply. George Trent is the master gardener on the project.

“We just got finished with the corn. We had 16 rows of sweet corn, and we gave it all away, some 500 ears,” said Trent.

He said it’s not always easy.

“We just have to have the weather cooperate. Like we had a pretty good sized tomato crop. We lost them all because of water. It rained too much. We had three weeks of rain, and it just rotted them out,” Trent said.

The care of this garden is handled mostly by volunteers, many of them elderly. In fact, the oldest volunteer is 86-years-old. They all have their specific reasons for why they want to do it.

One of them is Tony Lena.

“I get satisfaction that I'm doing something for somebody because I don't need the vegetables. I'm able to take care of myself and my wife, but I want to do something to help the community,” Lena said.

Church members say they hope that more young people will join the effort to maintain the garden. They are more than welcome to any food they can harvest.

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