Community Garden to host fall festival

The Good News Community Garden at St. Mary’s-St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is hosting a fall festival Saturday, Nov. 4, at the garden, 104 St. Mary’s Church Road, from 1-4 p.m.

The free event is open to the public and will include pony rides, environmental displays, garden tours and demonstrations on composting and electric vehicles.

The garden began in April as a way for church members and other volunteers to grow fresh produce to supply the Glen Alpine Food Bank. The garden supplied more than 800 pounds of fresh produce — tomatoes, bell peppers, tomatillo, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, green beans, onion, watermelons and cantaloupe. A second planting of fall and winter vegetables has been planted for harvest later in November. The garden has also supplied tomatillos to the food pantry at St. Charles Catholic Church.

St. Mary’s, which sits on five acres of land, has a long history of gardening. This year, the church opened its doors to volunteers not only from the local congregation, but also from members of The Green Team at Grace Episcopal Church in downtown Morganton.

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The festival, spearheaded by Corey Lovelace, wife of the church’s rector, the Rev. Logan Lovelace, additionally, will include a cake walk (with at least eight cakes to be given away), children’s games, door prizes and a raffle for four harvest baskets full of garden-related items donated by local merchants and volunteers.

In the planning stages for the garden last spring, Friar Lovelace was meeting for prayer with the Rev. Logan Miller, pastor of Glen Alpine United Methodist Church. They, too, thought, a garden could benefit the community, so Pastor Miller reached out to his uncle, John Sigmon, a member of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Newton who brought his tractor and tilled the ground for the garden. Others pitched in as well: Stone Creek Equestrian Center supplied horse manure to enrich the soil, and Bonnie Organic Nursery in Nebo donated hundreds of plants.

Other local merchants and organizations have supported the garden as well: Lowe’s Hardware Store of Morganton, Tractor Supply Co., Phifer Family YMCA of Catawba Valley, and the NC Cooperative Extension Service in Burke County.

Any proceeds earned at the festival will be earmarked for sprinkler hoses for the garden to streamline watering chores. Future plans call for plots for corn, squash, pumpkin and melons. And, in the coming year, garden volunteers envision planting cherry, peach, fig and pear trees.

“It is the church’s mission to honor God by using the gift of this beautiful land to feed those in need as one of the many ways we share God’s love in the world,” said Corey Lovelace.

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