First growing season yields 14,500 pounds of tomatoes for food pantries
October 6, 2018
The vision for the SoulFood Greenhouse at NorthPark Presbyterian Church in Dallas grew from the roots of its predecessor, the SoulPatch organic vegetable garden, which was planted on the church grounds by the Visions Sunday School class in the spring of 2011.
Following several years of successful harvests, NorthPark member Keri McCall wondered how many more people could be fed if the garden were larger. She shared the idea with her husband, and thus began the dream of a church greenhouse.
With the blessing of the NorthPark congregation, and following a churchwide fundraising effort, the McCalls tackled a few city permits, worked with architects to design the build and planned for tree remediations. A couple of rented cranes and cement trucks later, the greenhouse was up and running.
During its first growing season in 2017, the greenhouse yielded 14,500 pounds of hydroponic, pesticide-free tomatoes for the clients of the Vickery Meadow Food Pantry in Dallas. The yield was so successful, they were able to share the bounty more widely than expected.
“We were able to regularly deliver to four different food pantries in the north and east Dallas areas and had over 50 different volunteers making it all happen,” Keri said. They took a break over the summer to make changes to the climate control system and address some minor repair issues.
“We just began our second season by getting the seeds started, which should lead to a harvest around Thanksgiving of this year. We are planning on growing 25 percent more plants this season, so hopefully we will see that same increase in the harvest total. We’re also trying some different varieties of tomatoes this season.”
Based on these changes, the 2018 yield is likely to be bigger and better, which ultimately translates to more fresh produce on the plates of more Dallas families.
“We are well on our way to feeding our neighbors in need,” Keri said. “I am so grateful for a church willing to support such a crazy idea and show up each week to volunteer and make it happen!”
M.E. Clary; Communications Director; Grace Presbytery; Irving, Texas
Today’s Focus: SoulFood Greenhouse
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray:
Holy and Wonderful One, you have given us a world to care for and a charge to feed those who are hungry. We ask your blessing on this ministry for a bountiful harvest, for full bellies in our communities. May all who enter its doors leave with renewed passion for your creation. Give wisdom and patience to its volunteers and may their work be pleasing to you. We seek to glorify you with all that is grown. In the name of our savior we pray. Amen.
Prayer by the Rev. Kelly Staples, Associate Pastor, NorthPark Presbyterian Church