The meditation garden at Mosaic Community Garden on Main Street.
CLAYTON -- After six months of building a garden in downtown Clayton, Mosaic Community Garden is hoping to expand its volunteer base.
Started in March by Mosaic, a nondenominational church, the garden is meant to be a gathering place for community members from all walks of life who are interested in coming together to serve those in need.
The garden, which includes everything from corn to eggplants and bell peppers this summer, donates all of its produce to those in need. But only six months into existence, the garden needs more people to water, plant, harvest and distribute the food.
Thomas Lipscomb, who spearheaded the idea for the garden, is out there working nearly every day. He says there’s a core group of about six volunteers who keep it up and running, but that’s not enough.
With 22 raised beds, including some for flowers and others for vegetables, Mosaic’s pastor, Andy Hale, hopes the church can encourage families, school groups, businesses and civic organizations to adopt a bed to be in charge of taking care of it.
“We find the more you get people kind of owning into something, the more likely they are to invest their time into it,” Hale said.
Adopting a bed wouldn’t cost anything, but it would require the commitment to plant, weed, water and harvest. And you don’t need to be a member of the church to join the garden, Hale emphasizes. As of now, about 75 percent of volunteers aren’t associated with the church at all.
“We’re really looking to create community for the people of Clayton, not just to join Mosaic but to create a space for people to come together and serve others,” Hale said.
The garden will be open during the Harvest Festival, and folks will be encouraged to take a look around, buy some lemonade, and learn about opportunities to get involved in the garden.
Lipscomb said they’re also trying to raise money so they can buy gift cards to Clayton Food Town to distribute to those in need in between harvests.
Right now, the garden is distributing its produce to a low-income apartment community that a church member pointed out as a place with families that could benefit from free, fresh produce.
“We’re also still developing that network as well, and as the garden grows we’ll have a larger group to connect to,” Hale said.
They’re also looking to find places they can donate the flowers to, such as nursing homes and retirement communities.
Having worked so hard on building the flower beds and establishing the garden, Lipscomb said he’s anxious to share it with others.
“I don’t want to just build it for me, I want people to enjoy it,” Lipscomb said. “I want people to enjoy nature, I want people to fall in love with nature – I want them to fall in love with watching things grow.”