If you have driven by the back parking lot of our facility in the last year, you have probably seen some growth out on the back lawn. What sometimes seems like a vegetable garden, and sometimes looks more like a jungle, is the CHP Community Garden, an idea that first took root in the mind of Girl Scout troop leader Melanie Segalla, who recently moved to Georgia from Southern California.
Like many programs at CHP, the Garden began as a small effort by a small group. In this case, children who learned about garden basics, spent several hours planting seeds of all varieties in peat pots which then lived in Melanie’s small greenhouse on her family’s porch in the late winter of 2020. What happened next was completely unexpected.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent shelter in place order forced the Girl Scout troop to stop meeting in person. The care of the fledgling plants fell entirely on Melanie and her family. In spite of the pandemic, many of those little seeds began to sprout.
In the spring when it was planting time.
Melanie, along with a handful of retired volunteers and her own children, planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and a variety of other items. The first season brought in a bumper crop of cucumbers, and not much more. Crows feasted on the tomatoes, and watering the large space became an issue in the hot, Georgia summer. Not every seed that our volunteers planted would produce a suitable piece of produce. What happened with our CHP community garden was similar to the New Testament parable of the sower and the seeds.
In Jesus’ story, the sower went out and scattered seed. Some of those seeds landed in the wrong places, and didn’t sprout or turn into much. Others seeds were trampled and ruined, and still others, who received the proper amount of soil, sun and watering, went on to produce a harvest.
At CHP, we recently adopted a new mission statement and a new byline for our logo.
Or byline says “meeting needs, transforming lives.” In all the work we do at CHP, we are planting seeds. Some of these seeds may not go very far. The ground where they have landed is not yet fertile enough. Other seeds will be unfortunately trampled. Anytime you work with vulnerable clients, this is a possibility. But for those seeds that do take root – the results are beautiful. A transformation occurs when a seed takes root, begins to sprout, and eventually produces fruit or vegetables.
As you pass our little Community Garden, look at the color, variety, and the wonder of God’s creation. All these plants are different, just as God’s creation is so unique. Each individual person, loved by God, deserves a chance to be tended, watered, and become productive. Thank you for sowing seeds along with us at CHP.