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January 23, 2013

Early ideas sown for fourth church garden

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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Lord of the Harvest Christian Fellowship Senior Pastor Mike Osminsk, left, Warren City Council member Kelly Colegio and Associate Pastor Janine McLatcher met with Dave Ross, not pictured, of The Home Depot Jan. 17 to discuss a potential community garden at the church.

WARREN — An 80-by-90-foot plot of land to the west of Warren’s Lord of the Harvest Christian Fellowship at Toepfer and Schoenherr could become home to the city’s newest community garden this summer.

Pastors of the church met with Warren City Council member Kelly Colegio and Dave Ross from The Home Depot last week on an empty piece of property they’d like to use to help stock a food pantry with fresh produce.

Colegio worked with Ross, a department head in the Tool Rental Department of The Home Depot’s Harper Woods store, to secure grant funding for two of the three other community gardens at churches in the city; the Friendship Garden, at the Church of the Master on Schoenherr north of 12 Mile; and the garden at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, on Hupp south of Nine Mile and east of Van Dyke.

Ross captains his store’s Team Depot crew, which works to support various projects in the area through The Home Depot Foundation.

“I came out to survey the site. We’ll be working on it,” Ross said of the potential project at Lord of the Harvest.

Early plans discussed for the site involved a collection of rectangular 8-inch-tall raised garden beds, filled with a healthy growing mix of sand, soil and compost.

Lord of the Harvest Senior Pastor Mike Osminski said the church’s food pantry supports 1,500 individuals from 400 families each month. Working with Forgotten Harvest and the Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, the church provides produce, bread and non-perishables.

But a vibrant community garden tended by volunteers would enable them to do much more.

“That garden will feed a lot of seniors and the working poor. That’s what you get here,” said Mary Reiland, director of the Food Ministry at Lord of the Harvest.

Produce grown at all three church gardens benefits local nonprofits or church outreach initiatives.

Warren’s first community garden was built at The Woods North Campus on 13 Mile Road in 2010. Colegio said funding for that project came from the church and its supporters. The Hope Garden donates food to supplement the food bank at the HOPE Center in Fraser.

The Friendship Garden at the Church of the Master, planted in 2011, shares a large portion of its produce with Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers of Macomb County.

Food harvested at the Mt. Calvary garden, planted last year, supports the church’s in-house food pantry and its neighborhood outreach initiatives.

Colegio said Team Depot grants not only helped to establish the gardens at Mt. Calvary and the Church of the Master, but that a follow-up grant doubled the size of the Church of the Master’s garden last year.

She was optimistic about a potential $2,000 grant to build a garden at Lord of the Harvest.

“I’m excited for them,” Colegio said. “They work so hard and they do so much with whatever little they’ve got. It will be so great to get them something really nice.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.