Another community garden grows in Warren through collaborative effort

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published June 24, 2011

 Pastor Paul Bakker of the Church of the Master said 75 percent of the food that’s grown in the church’s new Friendship Garden would be distributed to homebound seniors.

Pastor Paul Bakker of the Church of the Master said 75 percent of the food that’s grown in the church’s new Friendship Garden would be distributed to homebound seniors.

Photo by Brian C. Louwers

WARREN — Pastor Paul Bakker said the seminary never prepared him for this.

Behind his home next to the Church of the Master, on Schoenherr, north of 12 Mile, near the sanctuary where Bakker tends to his flock, he’ll now tend vegetables. Broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, greens and herbs are among what’s planted there, most destined to grace the tables of those who truly need it this summer.

The church’s Friendship Garden became Warren’s second community garden earlier this month, its plantings made possible through ongoing collaborative efforts among the city, its churches, and local nonprofits.

“I spoke with the Church of the Master. They wanted to do something to open up the land use for the community,” said Kelly Colegio, Warren’s community outreach coordinator.

Colegio said a representative of The Home Depot had contacted the city previously to inquire about potential outreach projects in Warren, and she mentioned the effort to construct a community garden at the church, to benefit Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers of Macomb.

“He said that was a great fit to pull in one of their Team Depot grants,” Colegio said.

The Home Depot Foundation supports the grants, which Bakker said totaled $7,000 for the project.

A team of about 50 volunteer workers built the 25 raised plant beds at the Friendship Garden on June 9. The vegetables were planted two days later.

Bakker said about 75 percent of what is grown there will be distributed to homebound seniors through Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers.

“We were really blessed,” Bakker said. “For me, it’s how do we use the resources we have here to benefit the community.”

Another community garden opened last summer at the Woods Church of the Nazarene, on 13 Mile. The majority of the produce grown at the church’s Hope Garden benefits the HOPE Center in Fraser.

Colegio said more gardens are planned in partnership with Warren churches with the city and nonprofit groups. Plots in the planning stages include those at the First United Methodist Church, on Chicago Road, and the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, on Packard.

For more information, look for Warren Community Gardens on Facebook.