Food & Faith Growing Project

An initiative on food, faith, and justice in West Michigan.

World Renew, in collaboration with Urban Roots, Access of West Michigan, and other community partners, invites you to participate in the Food & Faith Growing Project.

This initiative is a pilot project designed to help churches and other faith-based organizations in West Michigan use community gardens as an entry point to connecting with their neighborhoods. The program is designed to help churches

  • Start or re-energize a successful community garden / growing project in a way that contributes to asset-based community development
  • Dialogue around issues of local and global hunger, food security, creation care, and immigration
  • Produce healthy food that will benefit those in need

Pilot Sites Needed!

World Renew is specifically looking for four host sites in West Michigan to convene learning events and serve as demonstration gardens.
Host sites will receive:

  • Garden help every step of the way, from seed to putting the garden to bed for winter
  • Regular site visits and on-site leadership and education for your community members
  • Access to high quality garden tools and expert food growing knowledge
  • Guidance with the physical work of building beds, weeding, and transplanting
  • Solutions for harvesting and distributing the food produced in your space
  • Classes on Cooking, food preservation, etc.
  • Regular (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) facilitated group dialogues around topics that deepen our understanding of our relationships to the natural world, our neighbors, and the divine

In exchange, host sites are expected to:

  • Invite their neighbors (including individuals, churches, schools, and other organizations) to participate in the demonstration events and dialogues
  • Have their stories shared as case studies
  • Contribute $1,250 towards the $2,500 fee for contracting with Urban Roots to provide technical expertise (World Renew will provide a matching grant).

Click here to apply to be a host site

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my church or organization have to be Christian Reformed to participate?

No, this program is open to all churches and faith based organizations.

Does my church or organization have to be in West Michigan to participate?

Events and trainings in 2017 will take place in West Michigan. However, we hope to share our best practices and network faith-based growing initiatives throughout the U.S. and Canada. You are welcome to sign up for the email updates so that you can be informed about new developments.

What will it cost to participate?

Cost to participate will vary on a number of factors including whether or not your church already has a community garden, what improvements need to be made to the site, and whether you are willing to host trainings at your location. Matching grants may be available from World Renew.

What happens to the food that we grow?

Since each growing project has a unique context, churches will choose what to do with the produce. Options that have worked well for others include:

  • Donating the produce to families in need through their local food pantries. In Kent County this is often facilitated through Access of West Michigan.

  • Using the produce for a weekly community meal.

  • “Selling” the produce to church members in exchange for a donation to fight world hunger through organizations such as World Renew and Foods Resource Bank.

What if I have a question not answered above?

Please contact Wendy Hammond, Church Relations Manager World Renew-US, at whammond@worldrenew.net or 616-224-5892.