Continuing this good work in Dayton: Dayton Organic Farming Community Garden

In 2017, Sister Mumbi Kigutha met some new Daytonians from Congo. Sister Mumbi is from Kenya, east of Congo. Sister Mumbi and the new Daytonians soon realized that they shared similar cultures, language and food. They all missed old favorites like African eggplant! So Sister Mumbi collaborated with Rumenge Mbonigaba and others to start a community garden on a farming field that the Congregation owned.

After years of ups and downs, this year the Dayton Organic Farming Community Garden has been a bountiful success. The gardeners, the Congregation’s maintenance department, God’s Garden of Eatin’, St. Gabriel Family of Parishes Youth Group, Jerry Rowe (a farmer friend of the Congregation) and Five Rivers MetroParks have all contributed to the harvest. An above-ground water tank was installed. African eggplant seeds were ordered and started. The shed was relocated and rebuilt. The field was plowed. Then the field was tilled. The plants and seeds were planted. Water was purchased. Baby plants were watered. Hay was purchased. Weeds were pulled. Weeds were pulled again. Weeds are always being pulled. (This is an organic garden!) And finally, the harvest began. Food was harvested and shared. We are so grateful.

Community gardens are one way that the Sisters are living out Pope Francis’ call in Laudato Si. People gathering together and growing fresh, organic vegetables in our community — what a wonderful gift and celebration of our earth. But it’s not just about growing the food locally, without chemicals, and caring for creation — it’s also about feeding the soul. But we cannot accomplish that alone. We are a Eucharistic people. So we always seek to work together as one family in Christ, as the people of God from every corner of the world.

— Story and photos by Jen Morin-Williamson

Top, the field being tilled in May; second, the above-ground water tank; third, Rumenge inspects the harvest with Sisters Jeanette Buehler, Judy Kroeger, Patty Kremer, another volunteer and Sheree Neumann.

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