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HOPE Garden Feeds New Jersey

By Jack Carman, FASLA, Design for Generations, LLC

Offering to help create the HOPE Garden was part of the work done by landscape architecture firm, Design for Generations, LLC.
Photos Courtesy of Jack Carman, FASLA

Members of the church congregation asked the following question: "Why not convert some of that extensive turf around Faith Church for more productive uses?" Well, that was an easy question to answer. As a relatively new member of Faith Presbyterian Church in Medford, N.J. I discussed with church elders the possibilities. The community could reach out in the form of a garden where all of the produce would be donated to food banks. A committee was formed and the goals confirmed. HOPE (Helping Other People Eat) Garden was born.

We selected an optimal garden spot: full sun, good drainage and close to the parking lot for easy access. Water was available from the church. A design, layout and planting schedule was created. As a landscape architect specializing in the design of therapeutic gardens in senior communities, community gardens are popular with older adults wanting to grown their own organic produce.

In HOPE Garden's first year, 183 heads of lettuce along with 4,205 tomatoes, 333 squash, 546 peppers, 218 pea pods, 160 cucumbers and other vegetables were delivered to the Christian Caring Center in Browns Mills and My Brother's Keeper in Camden, N.J.

A big consideration in developing the garden was installing a fence to keep out unwelcomed visitors. An eight-foot fence was installed along the perimeter to deter hungry animals, especially deer and wild turkeys. Wire fencing was buried to stop ground hogs and other critters from burrowing into the garden. A grant from the West Jersey Presbytery helped with these initial costs.

The overwhelming success of our first year and feedback from the mission organizations we serve encouraged us to expand the garden by 150 percent. The total garden area is now 25' x 125'. In addition to the original HOPE Garden, we now have a community garden, where gardeners can grow their own produce and donate a portion to the needy.

Over 1,000 pounds of vegetables were donated to those in need. The garden will be expanded further for the third year and an additional herb garden is planned.

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If you have a project where landscape architectural design services were provided pro bono, you can submit your Stewardship proposal to: or call Larry Shield at (714) 979-5276 x125.

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October 19, 2019, 8:22 am PDT

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