Sara was a long time Central West End Farm volunteer. In 2017 she graduated from Villa Duchesne, an all-girls Catholic high school in Saint Louis County. The farm's mission inspired Sara. She quickly drew from this inspiration to build a Gift Garden at Villa Duchesne. This garden was able to grow and donate vegetables to the Second Presbyterian Church Food Pantry. The garden also provided service learning for Villa Duchesne students. With the help of classmates and faculty Sara also created opportunities for high school students at Villa to share important lessons about gardening and community with Villa’s elementary school students. Sara said “this garden caused an unusual group of people to come together, interact, and work hard for this good.”
With mentoring from neighbors and the help of a few "garden angels", the community of Central Reform Congregation started their Gift Garden. Wendy, Director of Finance for Central Reform Congregation, noted that each person involved played a valuable and unique role in making their garden successful and realistic. This Gift Garden was sponsored by Gateway Greening, and since its start it has touched the lives of many. Community members who go to the food pantry are so appreciative of the healthy, delicious weekly harvests.
Barbi, operations manager for the Trinity Church Food Ministry said that when you start a Gift Garden, “You commit to doing the right thing.” With major efforts from community members, what was once a small plot of overgrown weeds has transformed into a fruitful garden. In addition to all donated food, Trinity Church now provides access to fresh produce for food pantry clients any time they need it.
Second Star to the Right Books is an independent bookstore in Denver, CO. Thanks to the help and guidance of the Denver Esthetician School and other community members, the Second Star Team started a community garden in the store's backyard. This Gift Garden is one example of a community coming together to provide for those in food deserts around Denver.
This Gateway Greening funded garden is maintained by one of Patrick Henry Downtown Academy’s pre-school teachers, Patti. She saw the overgrown space in the schoolyard as an opportunity to create a gift garden, so she did just that. She has overcome many obstacles in this pursuit and now successfully provides food for neighbors of Patrick Henry by donating fresh food to a nearby homeless center. In addition to these donations Patty is proud to leave the garden gate open for anyone strolling by to come in and pick a fresh harvest for their family.
The First Unitarian Church in Saint Louis, Missouri became active in their gardening endeavors during their pursuit to become a “Green Sanctuary”. Their garden initiative, led by Lisa Ross, gives them an opportunity to work with neighbors and wonderful organizations such as Gateway Greening and the Central West End Farm. In addition to providing produce for those who cannot grow or buy their own, this garden and its operations are embedded into the religious education program at First Unitarian.
Aaron's Gift Garden
Aaron is a neighbor to the Central West End Farm. His major inspiration for starting a Gift Garden comes from wanting to teach valuable lessons of growing and giving to his son. All food harvested at this garden is donated to local food pantries.