Eleven years ago some of the parishioner’s at Holy Innocents Church had a vision. The sunshine filled gravel parking lot would be an excellent place to start a Community Garden in Beach Haven. With the help of the Garden Club of LBI and the Rotary Club the enthusiastic gardeners got started in April 2009.
The Community Garden of Beach Haven at Holy Innocents Church is thriving as we navigate through these troubled times of 2020. Luckily, gardening is a naturally “social distant” activity. People seem to be enjoying gardening even more during the pandemic … it is a wonderful way to spend time outdoors and grow your own healthy, organic fruits and vegetables. As we experience limited dining opportunities it seems as if cooking and baking at home are at an all-time high and there is nothing better than getting your ingredients from your own garden.
We are hoping that we are able to gather later this summer and enjoy our One Long Table dinner in the garden. It is always the highlight of the summer growing season, but this year it will be even more special as we are all so anxious to not only share our harvest but our friendships.
Today there are forty seven raised beds and about 25 straw bales in the garden. Many of the gardens are filled year round and provide a beautiful alternative to the old gravel parking lot. The gardens provide fresh, organic fruit and vegetables to its members and a lovely, quiet gathering space especially during our busy summers. The gardeners meet informally while tending to their gardens but also enjoy group events such as the One Long Table dinner during the summer. In addition, the gardeners share their abundance of produce with the local food pantry at St. Francis.
Each gardener pays $35 for either a 4 x 6 raised bed or $25 for a straw bale on a yearly basis. The gardens are available to Church members as well as the Beach Haven Community. Currently there is a waiting list for the raised beds but straw bales are available each spring. Straw bale gardening is an extremely productive type of gardening which can be done anywhere and with very little if any weeding. It has proven to be a great alternative for those who love to garden.
The Community Garden is a fine example of a small, grass roots effort becoming a reality in our special place we call Beach Haven.