Thursday, December 5, 2013

Family Garden Initiative

Five years ago when my husband Alex and his good friend Pastor Dan Samms started The Family Garden Initiative, we didn't know what it would become.
We didn't know that it would become its own 501c3 non-profit.
We didn't know that people all over the country, and even some groups out of the country would clamor for projects of their own.

What is The Family Garden Initiative you wonder?

The Family Garden Initiative (FGI) is a faith-driven, community outreach organization that provides fresh food to families in need through building gardens and garden education in local communities. FGI teaches its methods and models to local churches and community organizations to facilitate local outreach programs. We live out the Gospel of Christ by serving low-maintenance, above-ground gardens to families in need. Our mission is to reflect Christ by healing urban communities through serving gardens that yield freshly grown produce for families..

True greatness is serving (Matthew 23:11). We believe that the most effective way to make a community great is for the local church to contagiously serve community needs. FGI provides a simple, effective method for churches to lead communities to meet fundamental needs for the gospel and nutrition."  

I know you're thinking that's awesome!  But how is this different from just giving money to food banks?
Food banks often cannot give fresh produce because it goes bad too quickly.   Many times, food that is given to food banks is highly processed, lacks any nutritional value whatsoever, is high in sugars and salts, and I know I don't have to explain the value of fresh produce to you!

The Family Garden Initiative is completely unique.  It is connecting people in communities together. Urban environments, where there is no room, knowledge or ability to garden are the areas desperate to get  back to healthy eating, but simply cannot afford it!  These gardens can be placed on driveways, lawns, apartment balconies, anywhere with sunshine!  They help churches and communities do the FGI program, connect with their neighbors and donate whole vegetable gardens!!!  They give the fish and the fishing pole, so to speak.

They have found that kids who have never eaten a vegetable, cannot wait to eat what they have grown.  Families who have a hard time connecting with each other, build relationship while tending their gardens.

Please read this incredible letter we received from a garden recipient this Fall:

"Two weeks ago I had to put almost $1200 into the van,  new tires and other things- most of it unexpected and none of it in the "right now" budget, but it became the right now budget in a hurry.  I have an emergency fund, but as a single mom, it's not what it should be and may never be, so it covered some but not nearly all of that expense, leaving me with too much to pay out of pocket to not be affected.
Anyway, long story short, because of the money that had to be put into the van, we had $26 to live off for the next 10 days.  I have a full freezer, but no fresh fruits and veggies, as they were all gone by then. (Proving that fresh food goes first in a scarcity situation).
Because of FGI, we continued to eat veggies, every night, for that whole time (I may not be able to eat another tomato any time soon, but it was a fresh veggie available when we needed it, in my backyard that we weren't having otherwise).
you don't need to comment on this, as it's not my proudest story, but I did want you to know what a difference FGI made close to home...
thank you- for your vision..."

In addition to garden donations, The Family Garden Initiative is connecting with military bases to provide food to our soldiers.  Studies have also shown that gardening is therapeutic for returning soldiers and veterans suffering from PTSD.
The third goal of FGI is to help provide healthy food to foster homes, orphanages internationally and community centers in Uganda and El Salvador. Children need to EAT! Families need to be able to keep their children!
Here's the deal.   The Family Garden Initiative badly wants to continue to say YES! to groups all over the U.S. and abroad, who desperately want to provide healthy, sustainable vegetables and fruits to people who cannot afford it.  But in order to do so,  they need your help.  Every dollar you give, is carefully allotted.  There is no excess.
Please consider giving to The Family Garden Initiative this holiday season.  Our children have also learned so much from going out and delivering gardens, and teaching families how to grow their own food.  The goal is to fulfill God's command to feed the poor and oppressed. We can do that with your help. In addition, if you would like to do a garden donation with your church please contact Alex Marks,  he would be happy to help.

To give to FGI and provide healthy food this coming year to families all over, please follow this link:
Give Gardens to Families in Need.

Thank you and Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. Love FGI and what you guys are doing!! Going to share this and pray for lots of people to rise up and help.