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St. Andrews: Seeds of Hope Garden
Fullerton, CA


Mark Rios
Samantha Harris
Abigail Feldman


In Progress
For the past 25 years, St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Fullerton, Calif. has operated a weekly Friday soup kitchen on its campus, feeding 130 hungry people each week. But when the Rev. Dr. Beth Kelly took over as rector in 2011, she wanted to do more, and she viewed the church's 12,000-square-foot front lawn literally as fallow ground for her plan.

Turning this water-intensive landscape into a fruit and vegetable garden, she figured, would not only provide more—and more nutritious—food for the hungry. The garden's prominent location along busy Chapman Blvd. would act as a billboard affirming the church's commitment to serving the surrounding community.

Mark Rios grew up as a parishioner at St. Andrew's, and was happy to work on this project on a pro bono basis. After soliciting opinions and suggestions from the parish, we
hit on the idea of using 50 small boats as individual planters. Like Simon Peter's fishing boat in Luke 5:1-11, these dinghies are a metaphor for spreading the word of God and reaping the bounty of his teachings; they also represent the journey of religious transformation. The boats form a circle around a central harvesting table that serves as an outdoor altar.

The garden also accommodates a landscaped area for larger gatherings, and a water feature that can be used as a baptismal font. The four principles that guide good gardening—prepare, grow, harvest, and share—let parishioners contribute to the community and to the church's central role in it in myriad ways. Additional partners in this project include non-parishioners, who can volunteer to tend the garden, and local food banks, which receive any produce that exceeds what the soup kitchen serves.