Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bon Secours St. Francis AgriCulture Exchange

Some of you may have noticed a change in the name on our Facebook page.  The St. Francis Community Garden is only one of Community Ministries’ programming and outreach efforts in sustainability.  We also mentor and support other gardens; offer assistance with environmental questions; help set and achieve the St. Francis Green Team’s ecological goals; help plan the health system’s Earth Week activities; and teach about sustainable living, gardening, healthy food preparation and food preservation.

To better represent our scope, we’ve rebranded as the St. Francis AgriCulture Exchange.  We recently finished a vision statement that we believe reflects our goals and philosophy:

The St. Francis AgriCulture Exchange provides leadership in sustainability and collaborates with community partners to educate the greater Greenville community in gardening, environmental stewardship, and healthy food preparation and preservation. We welcome the exchange of ideas, strategies and resources that encourage development of a healthy food culture and secure local food system.   

We’ve also created of list of our current programs:

Community Garden Program:  We manage the St. Francis Community Garden and support the Odessa Street Garden.  Expansion plans for 2012 include the addition of berry bushes to all gardens, financed through the generosity of the Greater Greenville Master Gardeners and Trees Greenville, and the incorporation of other gardens into our mentoring program.

Agricultural Education Program:  Our Sustainability Specialist and other experts teach classes on topics such as garden design, organic gardening techniques, backyard homesteading, season extension, herb and fruit propagation, seed saving and seed starting.  We also are supporting the development of urban farms, beginning in the Sterling Community.

Sustainable Living Program:  Our Sustainability Specialist and other experts teach classes on healthy food preparation; food preservation (drying, canning and freezing); “green” home cleaning and personal care products; and sustainable practices.  

This year, we’ll be announcing new events that will raise both program funds and community awareness.  We hope that you will join us in celebrating our transition from a community garden to a community support system focused on collaboratively creating a vibrant, healthy, local food system in Greenville.