Community Garden FAQ

Calvary Grows! Community Garden

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where are you planning to locate the community garden?

We are planning to locate the garden site on the vacant lot to the south of the Calvary United Methodist Church (CUMC) Education Building on Elizabeth St. This site receives a good amount of sunlight, which is important for growing vegetables.

2. Who will be served by a community garden?

People or groups who would be served by a community garden include shut-ins within CUMC, persons in CUMC on fixed incomes who are unable (or no longer able) to garden, persons in CUMC who do not have good space of their own for gardening, soup kitchens or food banks, and members of the neighborhood surrounding CUMC. In addition, the church has sponsored Montagnard refugees who were farmers in Vietnam and have expressed the desire for similar opportunities here in Durham.

3. How will the garden serve members of the community?

The garden would include “common” space that will be tended by CUMC for uses described above. Additional space could be made available for plots for neighborhood household members to grow produce for their personal use for a nominal annual fee. Persons tending plots for their own personal or family use (whether members of CUMC or not) would need to go through an application process. We have obtained examples of application forms from other community garden organizations. The final details of this plan are subject currently under review.

4. How will the garden be supported?

Calvary has received grants from Durham Congregations in Action (DCIA) and the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church to support start-up costs for the garden.

5. Are there plans to cover water or irrigation expenses?

Plants need an inch of water a week during the growing season, so this is an important concern. Grant support for the garden includes a budgeted amount to reimburse the church for additional water and sewer charges associated with irrigating the garden in 2006. At this point, there does not appear to be much cost savings associated with the City installing a separate line and meter for irrigation. However, this and other options for irrigating the garden could be considered for future grants or other support.

6. Is there a risk of people stealing from the garden?

First, it’s important to acknowledge that if someone is sufficiently determined to steal produce from a community garden, he or she will find a way to do it. If a person is willing to take food from the garden without asking, we also may need to ask ourselves whether that person needs the food more than we do.

That being said, there are ways to discourage stealing from or acts of vandalism directed towards the garden. One important way will be for neighborhood members to have an interest in the success of the garden, so that they will be watching the garden at times when no one is at church. In addition, well-maintained garden space is less likely to invite vandals, if weeds are removed and produce is harvested regularly; well-maintained space sends the message that people are regularly working in the garden. There also are options to discourage intrusion that do not involve putting up unsightly fencing.

Contact Information

email Arthur Herring or contact the church office at 919-688-7138 for more information or to help with Wish List items.