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Behnkes Welcomes the Emmanuel Community Garden

Exciting news!  The good folks at Beltsville’s Emmanuel United Methodist Church have started a community garden at our Beltsville location – right on Route 1 near the entrance, so you can’t miss it.   It’s a terrific opportunity for members of the community (not just church members) to grow food for the local food bank, and for Behnkes to demonstrate food gardening while helping local folks learn to garden while helping to reduce hunger.  This fabulous partnership was dreamed up between pastor Daniel Mejia and Behnkes president Alfred Millard.

We hope shoppers enjoy stopping by to see the garden in progress.  Or better yet, email julie.pavelka@yahoo.com to contribute your labors!

April Planting Day at the Emmanuel Community Garden

The Garden
There are four large beds, nicely tilled and prepped by Behnkes staffers.  Behnkes store manager Sissy McKenzie donated the seeds and seedlings for the garden.  The first planting was accomplished this past weekend, and the next planting day will be in early May.

The Gardeners
All are welcome and so far, the gardeners include five members of Emmanuel’s Youth Group and five adults, including the Sunday School director and the church’s community outreach director, Julie Pavelka (wearing red in the photo above).  Julie studied agriculture in college, so is one of the two experienced veg-gardeners teaching the newbie gardeners, both young and old(er).

The Harvest
Emmanuel’s has for the last year run a food bank for those in need – 130 boxes per month – and food from the garden at Behnke’s will be distributed through this service.   It’s their hope that those who partake in the distribution will also eventually be part of the garden, as well, learning to grow and harvest gardens of their own.  This way the church would be providing them with much needed food as well as teaching them a skill they can apply in their own homes.  s garden is taking that concept to a whole other level.

Photos by Rick Bergmann.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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