The word ‘vegetable’ has been heard at times over the past few years in conversation at St Mark – and it’s nothing to do with eating up our vegetables at mealtimes!The idea came from the practices of small holdings in Kenya, where there is a common practice of self-sufficiency. People support their families with the vegetables they grow by sharing them among their extended family, as well as by selling them at the roadsides. This practice is evident in the villages among the less affluent families, where they live a communal lifestyle – as well as among the more wealthy, who share their produce with those less able to work on the land themselves.

As a church, we are called to share with our church family and with our community. By using the land we have – even the small area we have allocated to this project – we can use the gifts God has given us and the skills we each have to share the produce grown with others. God gave us the earth to produce vegetation and we read in Genesis that The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (Gen 2:15). We are fulfilling God’s plan for us by growing food to eat: by sharing that produce, we are sharing God’s love in action. The project is designed to be attractive and to enhance the churchyard – so we are growing flowers amongst the vegetables to make it fitting for the area, located beyond the Remembrance Garden behind the East wall of the church.

Already we have had some wonderful vegetables over the past year which have been shared out among parishioners and the project has extended to sharing vegetables grown in our own gardens.

We are grateful for a grant given to us by the National Park Authority which enabled us to set up this project. Our Churchyard Team put a lot of work into the planning and initial stages and we are most grateful to them for all their efforts. We now have a small team of willing and enthusiastic volunteers to take this project ahead, led by John Nivison. More volunteers are always welcome, as many hands make light work (that doesn’t mean you have to have green fingers!).

We need people with energy to dig, and we also need people to plant the seeds. We need people who can water our growing plants. We need someone to help with publicity.

We have proved that vegetables can be grown successfully in our plot, and the project has taken off and developed as more vegetables are shared out. Our aim is to increase our production so we can share the produce in the village.

This project is being part-funded by the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund.
The Sustainable Development Fund is a grant scheme to encourage sustainable ways of enjoying and living in the New Forest National Park.

If you are interested in this project in any way please contact us or talk directly with John Nivison (07541 063499).