Thanks to a generous grant from Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Koinonia has begun a major effort to expand our vegetable gardens and to revitalize our grape vineyard, blueberry patch, fruit orchards and to keep the monumental work in our pecan orchards going! It is our hope to give employment to a number of local people as this expansion increases income. Fredo Jackson and Jenn Palan have already joined us as the first two members of the Koinonia Grow Team. It is a “welcome back” for Fredo — he is a former intern who has gone on to do exciting work in the area of growing and distributing healthy food. Under the talented leadership of Jenn and Fredo, we are looking forward to continuing to supply our own kitchen with fresh produce for our guests and residents, to give employment in an area of the country where unemployment is high, and to expand our offering of healthy fruits, vegetables and pecans to Sumter County and beyond.

Cassidy making furrows for potatoes
Cassidy, a Spring Intern, making furrows for potatoes

Although the rain caused a few delays, this past week has been a flurry of activity in our Jubilee garden! This garden is located behind Jubilee House, where our interns usually reside, and will have 9 different plots. After we tilled the ground and prepared the soil, we planted 405 potato plants using Red Pontiac, Yukon Gold, and Kennebec varieties. The spring interns were a big help in getting all of those in the ground!

potatoes planted in the ground
Potatoes planted

Sunday afternoon we had a community planting event with great success. We were able to plant 260 plants in under 7 minutes! This included cabbages, broccoli, collard greens, and kale. Many hands certainly made the workload lighter.

We are excited about the hard work and progress we have made so far with our Koinonia Grow projects. Stay tuned to our blog, social media, and newsletter for regular updates on these gardens and more!

Measuring rows for potatoes
Leah & Vicki, Spring Interns, measuring rows for potatoes