Our 4th annual Migros Aid Community Garden: Where Relationships Grow, Disciplines Develop, and Learning Happens

Our 4th annual Migros Aid Community Garden:  Where Relationships Grow, Disciplines Develop, and Learning Happens

            If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden. – Robert Brault

The 4th annual Migros Aid Community Garden provided more than food this season; it also provided a setting for relationships to grow, discipline to develop, and learning to happen.  

Our garden produced 989 pounds of tomatoes, cabbages, okra, peppers, cucumbers, and more spread among 36 raised beds. Throughout the summer and fall, community members and volunteers harvested food weekly and distributed it to families. 

Beyond the actual vegetables it yielded, the garden did more than we could imagine. Middle school boys (who can be notoriously difficult to wrangle in the best of circumstances) spent an entire evening digging up potatoes and competing for the biggest one – each convinced that they might discover one that could break a world’s record for size.  A mentor and some teenage girls had conversations about faith and the Bible over beds of vegetables. An African woman taught Americans which leaves and stems could be cooked into delicious, nutritious dishes. Young girls filled bag after bag to take home to present proudly to their mothers. Teen boys earned pocket money by weeding and caring for the garden. Conversations about culture and food were shared between volunteers and members of the refugee community as they tried to save every cherry tomato before the first frost came. 

In the spring, a team sowed seeds that became sprouts, then tall plants, then vegetables. More was sown, however, than physical seeds. The garden also allowed opportunities for seeds of faith, trust, and friendship to be sown. We look forward to seeing the harvest that God produces from those seeds. 

All produce was given away for free to families in the refugee community.

And now the garden rests until we begin again next year!

Read more: Our 4th annual Migros Aid Community Garden: Where Relationships Grow, Disciplines Develop, and Learning Happens

Please contact us if you want to be involved in the garden in 2023!

Our 2021 Garden Produced 1,424 Pounds of Produce and Provided 8 Students Work throughout the Summer

Our 2021 Garden Produced 1,424 Pounds of Produce and Provided 8 Students Work throughout the Summer

This was our third year for our garden with 36 raised beds. We are grateful for all the volunteers, the 8 refugee students who were employed and mentored, and several youth groups who made our garden a success this year. All the vegetables were given freely to families in the community. 1,424 pounds of vegetables were harvested this year, up from 949 pounds in 2020.

Three different teams went weekly for two hours to do work in the garden and provide opportunities for relationship building, encouragement and mentoring. Thanks to Tom, Lydia, Katelyn, and Nick for their hard work and dedication picking up students and spending time with them, giving them a chance to earn some pocket money.

The students workers were: Ree, El too, Uredi, Pierre, Jacob, Desire, Mulumba, and Chance.

VISION & MISSION OF THE GARDEN

The vision of the Migros Aid Garden is that through gardening we can establish and grow relationships and empower the community to engage and learn skills to become self-sufficient. The mission of the Migros Aid Garden is to holistically mentor young people through part-time employment in the refugee community and to assist in feeding families by producing fresh produce. 

Weekly C.A.R.E. Club Returns

Weekly C.A.R.E. Club Returns

Throughout the pandemic, so many in the community were asking each week when they could come to C.A.R.E. Club again. They were very excited when we were able to restart our weekly event in August!

One of our mantras at CARE club is “We care for you!” We believe many in the immigrant community need to be reminded of this on an ongoing basis and that so many of us want to see them succeed. Further, providing a consistent presence and routine is always important for those who have experienced trauma and instability to grow in resilience. Refugees from numerous religious backgrounds come to CARE club. Our goal is to provide a safe and secure space for refugees to share a meal, have conversations, nurture relationships, and enjoy activities.   

Students who bring their homework can get help and adults who come have an opportunity to practice their English. Soccer games happen each week!

CARE CLUB Values:

Community | Empowerment | Connection | Transformation

CARE CLUB Vision:
Provide a consistent safe, secure environment for refugees to gather
Provide a hot, free, and healthy meal
Provide creative activities for children to engage with
Provide English conversation practice for adults
Provide tutoring to students who bring their homework
Provide community building through music, singing, and storytelling
Provide volunteers an opportunity to engage with multiple cultures and meet the refugee community

Please contact us if you are interested in preparing a meal or want to volunteer.

Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden

Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden

This is our third year for the Migros Aid garden. Each year it has grown and expanded, impacting more people.

We have had a couple of work days this year and plan to have more before planting in early May. We will employe 6-8 young people to work in the garden this summer and exploring ways to participate in a local farmers market.

In 2020, we grew 940 pounds of produce for the community. We hope that in 2021 we can increase this to help provide food to more people.

Continue reading “Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden”

949 pounds of vegetables distributed for free in 2020

949 pounds of vegetables distributed for free in 2020

The Migros Aid Garden of 2020 has been a huge success in many ways. The garden is over and cleaned out for 2021! There were 53 volunteers involved in Garden work this year, from planting to harvesting to cleaning the garden. We added some new garden beds for a total of 36 raised beds. We grew and harvested 949 pounds of produce, including a variety of tomatoes, okra, eggplant, beans, and more. All of the produce was distributed (free of charge) to the refugee and immigrant community.

Over the summer we employed 6 teens who came each week to tend the garden in pairs, along with volunteer mentors. As a result of these relationships, 2 small group Bible studies were born and are still going.

The 2020 harvest is over, but the garden beds have been cleaned and are ready for 2021!

Teaching Life Lessons in a Garden

Teaching Life Lessons in a Garden

So many lessons about life can be taught in a garden.   That was exactly our vision for the second year of the Migros Aid garden.     The garden has been a real success despite all of the ways Covid-19 has been a challenge to all of us.

“Working in the garden this summer has helped us to communicate together and learn about the Bible.”  says 17-year-old Severin Zaoro, a refugee from Cameroon.

Severin is one of six young people who immigrated to America as refugees in recent years and have been involved in Migros Aid.  These students have worked in the Migros Aid garden over the summer on the west side of Indianapolis, giving two hours per week to care for the garden.      The students are paid a small stipend for their summer job, working in pairs.  The students were connected with an adult mentor who usually picked them up and provided encouragement, friendship, and teaching moments to the students each week.

Tina Swarens, a mentor to one of the girl’s groups, says, “I enjoyed getting to know the girls, seeing their enthusiasm to have a job and learning to garden.  I’m grateful God brought us together.”

The community garden is located at the Westside Episcipocal Community Center where Migros Aid is one of the ministry partners using the facility.

Migros Aid board member, Tom Langerbartels, gave leadership to the garden and says,  “The commitment of the volunteers and the regular participation of the immigrant students have been very encouraging.  The relationships built while working in the garden have led to cultural, spiritual, ethical, and political discussions.  It has really been a joy to watch how God is growing fruit in these young people as they work to grow fruit in the garden.”

Fifteen-year-old, Samacheya Tamang,  says, “I have learned that doing the garden is really good. It also reminds me of my home country and plus I like doing watering so the garden can have more watered and gives them the energy to grow.”

We plan to do three things with the vegetables that grow this year:   Distribute them to the refugee community,  sell vegetables to anyone for our back to school fund, and give to the Storehouse food pantry.

Please contact us if you want to host a Migros Vegetable Stand in your community and help support the work of Migros Aid.

The other students who participated were Ajulu Ojulu,  Pierre Kaskile, Anita Mawazo, and Naomi Salama.

Jan Woodall,  Nick Myers, and Lydia Crain were also adult helpers and mentors to the students.

Our Second Year of the Migros Aid Garden

Our Second Year of the Migros Aid Garden

For the second consecutive year, we are growing vegetables in 27 garden beds that were built in 2019.   We are going to have another 10 beds added in 2020 making a total number of 37 raised beds.    The garden will be a way to also mentor young people in a summer work program and work alongside a mentor. 

Some families have their own garden beds to tend, and what is grown in the others will be distributed to the refugee and immigrant community.  Volunteers from around the city came out to work alongside other volunteers and refugees to prepare the beds and plant the seeds. We also received a donation of 1,000 tomato plants, which was more than we can use, so some of those were given to others in the community.