Edible Borders, Hedges and Hedgerows: Churches Have More Space Available for Food Production Than They May Realize

For many churches, space is at a premium. At the same time, the financial resources for landscaping, and the volunteer labor needed to do that landscaping, is often limited. Thus, bountifulchurchyards.org mentions as its first strategy for creating edible churchyards, the introduction of edible perennials into existing or already planned borders, hedges and hedgerows.

Most churches with parking lots have plant-able areas in or adjacent to their parking lots. Most churches have at least small strips of plant-able ground next to their foundations and walkways, even if they don’t have large yards. Once churches start considering these kinds of spaces for development into edible landscapes, they often find they have quite a bit of space available for food production.

Just as important, introducing edibles into these areas may not add any additional cost to the church, in terms of either money or labor, if done in the course of routine in-fill or replacement planting.  This is particularly true if long-lived perennials are selected.  Finally, long-term care and maintenance costs can be reduced by choosing plants whose water, and other cultural needs, fit the site without the need for supplemental water or continuous addition of soil amendments.

Learning where to look for suitable space, what to plant into the spaces that are available, or how to do so with limited money or manpower, however, may take training or support. That is what we exist for. Please ask us.

About the Author

Our Executive Director, Stu Richardson, is a former teacher with 25 years in K-12 classrooms. Currently an MDiv. student at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary preparing for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Stu has an M.Ed from Chapman University and an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco. Outside of work, Stu is a beekeeper with 30 hives of his own set in an organic herb garden. He uses a Worksman Low-Gravity Platform Bike with Extra-Cycle Freetail and a 6 foot Bike-to-Work Trailer for most local errands.