Over ten years ago, Fr. Tony Taschetta and Tom Norton from St. Isidore Catholic Church had a dream. They wanted to help feed those in need with fresh vegetables grown organically on the church’s campus. From that dream, the soil was prepared and volunteers helped measure out the gardens and plant seeds. Fourteen gardens each 10’x4’ were laid out and the new St. Isidore Organic Garden was born.
That first year, we had the usual start up issues, including soil that needed to be enriched, critters that needed to be discouraged from having dinner on us as well as maintenance of the garden. In the years that followed, we realized it would be best to add compost to the soil. Our neighbors Holteroff Nursery and Prestige Nursery came to the rescue in donating the compost for the soil. But, we still needed to make the garden a beautiful place to spend time working. Lowe’s Home Improvement donated wood for raised beds. We were able to purchase wood to enhance the fence as well as pavers to maintain neat aisles. Lastly, we needed plants to really get going. Caputo’s Market has generously donated plants to get the garden off to a good start. Now, we could easily spend time in the quiet of the garden working to feed the hungry through the Neighborhood Food Pantries.
We didn’t harvest much during the early years but all of a sudden we realized that 500 lbs., then 700 lbs., and then 1,000 pounds of produce was possible. We exceeded our best year this summer with a bountiful harvest of over 1,900 pounds of vegetables from basil to zucchini. We grew 30 different kinds of vegetables.
We work the garden from April until the first frost around the middle of October. Twenty one volunteers helped us throughout this past summer, planting, weeding, watering and harvesting. We feel that we are doing God’s work in feeding the hungry. It has been a work of love as well as a way to appreciate all that God has given us.