The Gleaning Garden
The Gleaning Garden, located in Carmel, Indiana, used to grows and give away organically grown produce to a nearby local food pantry while also providing space for passersby to rest and ecological restoration
The vision was abundance and community. It met that vision. Many people used the space to sit and stare, meet with others, and more. There was even once wedding photos taken there by a complete stranger! This space was a way of demonstrating fecundity; a fruitful and fertile place that provides regenerative and indiscriminate abundance to all who interact with it. We did our best to set this space in right relationship to its environment so that it can feed the stomachs of those lacking nutrition, feed the souls of passersby, and provide food and habitat for plant diversity, insects, birds, and wildlife.
The name 'Carmel,' originates from the Hebrew language meaning, 'garden or 'fertile field.'"
To glean is, "to gather by acquisition," or to "scrape together." In the ancient Hebrew tradition and as part of the cultural context and societal structure of the time, farmers left some of the grain and other crops unharvested so that the widows and invalids could "glean" as a means of feeding themselves.
The Gleaning Garden puts a new spin on this ancient meaning. Yes, we do leave some food unharvested for those in need; just like the ancient Hebrews did. While gardeners will grow most of the food for themselves, they also leave some food to be harvested by volunteers and donated to the Carmel United Methodist Church Food Pantry.
If you are wondering why we do this, read more about food insecurity in Hamilton County here.
More-than Human Needs
Ecology means, "the relationship of living things to their environment." Where there is ignorance or indifference to relationship there is ecological decline. Unfortunately, urban ecosystems have been degraded through development, soil erosion and compaction, by the fragmentation of natural spaces, the use of non-native plants in landscaping, lawn care, etc. These relational barriers make it difficult for birds, insects, and soil microbiology to thrive and limits the capacity for nature to regenerate.
At the Gleaning Garden we are restoring soil health by sequestering organic matter and capturing carbon from the atmosphere have added a wildflower garden for pollinator and insect habitat, we are planting an increasing diversity of herbaceous and woody plants, and removing non-native species of plants that do not support native wildlife.
Already we have seen positive changes that not only have direct benefits to the health of the garden, but that likely have direct and indirect benefits to people in and around the garden property through clean air, clean water, and a richer environment that all can enjoy.