Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden

Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden

This is our third year for the Migros Aid garden. Each year it has grown and expanded, impacting more people.

We have had a couple of work days this year and plan to have more before planting in early May. We will employe 6-8 young people to work in the garden this summer and exploring ways to participate in a local farmers market.

In 2020, we grew 940 pounds of produce for the community. We hope that in 2021 we can increase this to help provide food to more people.

Continue reading “Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden”

949 pounds of vegetables distributed for free in 2020

949 pounds of vegetables distributed for free in 2020

The Migros Aid Garden of 2020 has been a huge success in many ways. The garden is over and cleaned out for 2021! There were 53 volunteers involved in Garden work this year, from planting to harvesting to cleaning the garden. We added some new garden beds for a total of 36 raised beds. We grew and harvested 949 pounds of produce, including a variety of tomatoes, okra, eggplant, beans, and more. All of the produce was distributed (free of charge) to the refugee and immigrant community.

Over the summer we employed 6 teens who came each week to tend the garden in pairs, along with volunteer mentors. As a result of these relationships, 2 small group Bible studies were born and are still going.

The 2020 harvest is over, but the garden beds have been cleaned and are ready for 2021!

Teaching Life Lessons in a Garden

Teaching Life Lessons in a Garden

So many lessons about life can be taught in a garden.   That was exactly our vision for the second year of the Migros Aid garden.     The garden has been a real success despite all of the ways Covid-19 has been a challenge to all of us.

“Working in the garden this summer has helped us to communicate together and learn about the Bible.”  says 17-year-old Severin Zaoro, a refugee from Cameroon.

Severin is one of six young people who immigrated to America as refugees in recent years and have been involved in Migros Aid.  These students have worked in the Migros Aid garden over the summer on the west side of Indianapolis, giving two hours per week to care for the garden.      The students are paid a small stipend for their summer job, working in pairs.  The students were connected with an adult mentor who usually picked them up and provided encouragement, friendship, and teaching moments to the students each week.

Tina Swarens, a mentor to one of the girl’s groups, says, “I enjoyed getting to know the girls, seeing their enthusiasm to have a job and learning to garden.  I’m grateful God brought us together.”

The community garden is located at the Westside Episcipocal Community Center where Migros Aid is one of the ministry partners using the facility.

Migros Aid board member, Tom Langerbartels, gave leadership to the garden and says,  “The commitment of the volunteers and the regular participation of the immigrant students have been very encouraging.  The relationships built while working in the garden have led to cultural, spiritual, ethical, and political discussions.  It has really been a joy to watch how God is growing fruit in these young people as they work to grow fruit in the garden.”

Fifteen-year-old, Samacheya Tamang,  says, “I have learned that doing the garden is really good. It also reminds me of my home country and plus I like doing watering so the garden can have more watered and gives them the energy to grow.”

We plan to do three things with the vegetables that grow this year:   Distribute them to the refugee community,  sell vegetables to anyone for our back to school fund, and give to the Storehouse food pantry.

Please contact us if you want to host a Migros Vegetable Stand in your community and help support the work of Migros Aid.

The other students who participated were Ajulu Ojulu,  Pierre Kaskile, Anita Mawazo, and Naomi Salama.

Jan Woodall,  Nick Myers, and Lydia Crain were also adult helpers and mentors to the students.

Our Second Year of the Migros Aid Garden

Our Second Year of the Migros Aid Garden

For the second consecutive year, we are growing vegetables in 27 garden beds that were built in 2019.   We are going to have another 10 beds added in 2020 making a total number of 37 raised beds.    The garden will be a way to also mentor young people in a summer work program and work alongside a mentor. 

Some families have their own garden beds to tend, and what is grown in the others will be distributed to the refugee and immigrant community.  Volunteers from around the city came out to work alongside other volunteers and refugees to prepare the beds and plant the seeds. We also received a donation of 1,000 tomato plants, which was more than we can use, so some of those were given to others in the community.