The Lakebay Community Church took a leap of faith last spring. Church members decided to offer their land as a site for the planned Hope Recovery Center for addiction treatment, and the two organizations combined forces and connections.
The land was given to the church years ago, but the original plan to build a large church complex was dropped as circumstances changed.
There was enthusiasm to put the land to work as plans for building the Hope Recovery Center developed. Both organizations think that a working, productive garden can help feed the hungry on the Key Peninsula and ultimately will be a great educational and service opportunity for those in the coming residential drug treatment program.
In April, more than 100 volunteers, including Seeds of Grace and the Washington Youth Academy from Bremerton, cleared land, built 12 raised beds and raised fences to protect the garden from deer.
Seeds of Grace is a Bremerton-based nonprofit that has helped plan and build sustainable gardens across the United States and in Mexico for the last four years. The Washington Youth Academy is a division of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program designed to provide at-risk youth with education and life and job skills training.
The existing well on the garden property is functioning and crops are now growing, including peas, lettuce, squash, corn, tomatoes, carrots and cauliflower.
“Everything is starting to come to life,” said Scott Ludlow, vice chair of the Lakebay Community Church board. “It is all part of God’s plan.”
Planting the garden and keeping it weeded and watered requires work. Pat Augusztiny, secretary of the Lakebay Community Church, is the garden manager and coordinates the church volunteers who maintain and harvest the garden each week. Ludlow is the garden lead and coordinates as needed with Seeds of Grace.
The produce will be weighed and measured to meet Seeds of Grace grant requirements and then distributed at Harvest Share, a program benefiting 25 to 40 families at the Lakebay Community Church every Wednesday at 2 p.m. There is a short worship and music service before food is distributed. Any excess will be given to the local Food Backpacks 4 Kids program.
The garden will be a part of the Farm Tour in October. Augusztiny said they have adequate volunteer help for now, but that can always change. Anyone interested in helping can contact her at Lakebay Community Church at 884-3899 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit their website at DreamBigAskBold.org.