The Garden Ministry

We commit ourselves... To honor the beauty of creation as life giving for the human spirit, allowing ourselves to be filled with awe and reverence before the wonders of creation.

organic-gardenConsistent with reverence for the Earth is allowing it to remain in its pristine state without pesticides and pollutants. We work a natural garden in keeping with our belief that all of God’s creation are sacred and should be treated with respect and care.  We do this as a model of ways to counter the industrial agricultural industry.

The Garden Mission

We engage in diversified gardening as a model of sound, natural gardening, planting a variety of crops, rotating them regularly, and using the spent plants, weeds, grass and leaves (all rich in nutrients) to fertilize the soil.  Nothing is wasted.  Our natural garden is a good example of sustainability. As a bonus, diversified gardening attracts very few harmful insects and those that do come are quickly repelled by the beneficial insects that are attracted to our flowers.  Gardening in this manner keeps ever before our eyes the wonders of God’s creation: the good relationships and cooperation between the plants and animal life; the diverse dying and rising within a vegetable garden, and the beauty of the plants, flowers and trees.

View the video about our Organic Garden: We Are the Dust of the Earth

The Garden Grows

Our garden area has expanded over the years with the addition of chickens, rabbits, and goats.  The expansion continued with the addition of a Community Garden. We have invited interested people to use some of our space to grow their own vegetables.

The Garden Ministry not only seeks to model organic agricultural principles but also to teach children their connection with earth and to foster a community spirit among adults.

Courses for children such as Hands on Earth Play (ages 4-7), Soil, Worms and Compost ( upper grades), My Grown-Up and Me in the Big Outdoors, and other educational experiences are offered regularly.

Throughout the year rituals and prayer at the times of the equinoxes and solstices gather sisters, friends and neighbors in prayer to celebrate the changing seasons.

The Annual Potluck Picnic gathers neighbors and friends in an outdoor community celebration at the end of the growing season.

This year the building of the new brick oven enabled the initiation of Warm Winter Wednesdays to which all were invited to share freshly baked pizza and pita bread no matter how cold or rainy the weather.

In addition to the vegetables from the organic garden, the chickens provide fresh eggs and the bees give their honey.

Participating in creating irrigation systems, making music, learning about compost, cooking eggs, veggies and wheat are activities that make up just another week at the garden.

 

The Garden Ministry of the Sisters of St.Joseph is offering
Hands-on-Earth
Play Time for children of all ages

Wednesdays July 11-August 8
Come anytime between 9:00AM-12:00PM

Encouraging open-ended play and exploration, children will engage in fun, seasonal and developmentally
appropriate activities that will stimulate the body and mind and nurture their sense of wonder.

Hands-on-Earth will take place in a garden setting with chickens, rabbits and goats. Dress for the mess! All children must be accompanied by an adult.

At the Garden Ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph
1725 Brentwood Road, Brentwood 11717
(Follow the wooden signs to the “Garden”)

Registration is required.
To Register Call: (631) 838-0013 OR
Email: garden@csjbrentwood.org

Thoughts From The Garden                                                                               June 2018

 

Plants are growing where I’d rather they didn’t.  Grass is shooting skywards with incredible speed.  Invasive species are climbing up trees, and poison ivy is thriving everywhere I turn.  I’ve been scrambling for weeks to keep up with the rambunctious growth of everything except for the slow-growing plants that I actually planted.  I find myself with a desire to “get things under control.”  I seek solace in the potato patch where the potato plants seem to be doing just what I’d like them to – growing heartily – and the weeds are little and sparse underneath the heavily mulched aisles.

 

Sometimes I have this illusion that I’m in control.  I think that I can plant seeds and they will grow and produce fruit.  I think that I can plan my schedule and events will play out in just the way I anticipated.  I think I’ll send an email or make a phone call and I’ll get a response.  I think I can pray.

 

I recently read a couple of books on astrophysics (and didn’t understand more than a few sentences of either of them), and I was befuddled, again, by the immensity and intricacies of the universe and time.  Our God is a God untamed.  The grass and the weeds, the explosion of stars and the movements of asteroids, the rambunctiousness of children and galaxies and nature all reveal the wildness of God.

 

Life has a way of reminding me that I am not in control, and so I’ve always seemed to rely on the idea that God is.  Now I’m not so sure.  How can Love – outpouring, self-giving, overflowing, relationship-based, otherfocused – be in control?  In love we give ourselves over to the beloved and, if we’re lucky, are held as beloved in return.  There is no control in giving over or receiving.  There is no control in Love.  There is only the movement of simultaneous pouring out and being filled.

 

If God were in control, after all, would families be ripped apart for seeking safety and possibility?  Would shootings happen in schools and office buildings and churches?  Would the diversity of creation be facing mass extinction because of excessive and undeserved overconsumption?  Would people be forced to flee their countries because the danger of the road and the uncertainty of the future are more hopeful than their own homes?  Would there be war?  Clearly, God is not in control, or God is not a god that I would kneel down and worship.

 

Perhaps God is in motion – uniting, healing, liberating, redeeming, forgiving – outpouring and untamed.  Perhaps God is out of control and profoundly present.  Present in the tear between mother and child.  Present in the school rooms, the ravaged homes, the dangerous road, the battle zones.  Present in the assembly that takes to the streets and demands that families be kept together and schools be places of safety.  Present in the communities and individuals that open doors and hearts without distinction.  Present, even, with the ones holding the guns and building the walls because no one is excluded from God’s out-of-control love.  Perhaps God is moving and present in all of it – life, death and resurrection – we’ve seen that before, haven’t we?

 

I’ve met the wildness of God, and though I’ve found comfort in the orderliness of the potato patch this season, I can’t live there.  I am beckoned into the untamed naturalness of life to learn what it means to be human within it.  I am to embody the recklessness of God’s love and hold nothing back from this beautiful, messy, heart-wrenching, unjust, joyful world that I inhabit or from the neighbors who live beside me.

 

Here’s the thing, last season, the potato patch was a jumble of gigantic and triumphant weeds.  It was utterly out of control.  And still, we had an abundant and overflowing harvest of potatoes.

Heather Ganz