This article by Becky Grefthen originally appeared in the November/December issue of Northern Gardener magazine.
Since 2016, Peace Lutheran Church in Coon Rapids has been a member of the MSHS Minnesota Green program. This has enabled the church’s garden committee to improve and add new plant material to the perennial beds located throughout the 3-plus acre church grounds.
When Minnesota Green came to the attention of garden committee member Susan Peterson, she took the opportunity to participate so that she could stretch the budget and acquire plant material to create gardens that would have something in bloom throughout the growing season. Minnesota Green supports her mission, and it has provided benefits that she hadn’t anticipated. “It got me out of my comfort zone for growing plants I was unfamiliar with,” Susan says, “and I really enjoy connecting with other program participants.”
In addition to its perennial gardens, the church has dedicated an acre of land to Loaves and Fishes, a free meal program for those in need, as a garden to grow fresh produce for their 20 meal sites throughout the Twin Cities area. Five years ago, church members decided to build this relationship, which has kept them busy working first to develop the land and then helping as needed with planting, weeding and harvesting. “This summer we have already harvested 900 pounds of zucchini, hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and beans,” Susan says.
Susan is a tireless volunteer in her community and applies her master-gardener skills along with her lifelong love of gardening to help others. A frequent MSHS volunteer, she is a proud member of Minnesota Green.