What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
James 2: 14-16
The Anglican Parish of Telarah and Rutherford operates a small food pantry from which people in need can access emergency supplies of non-perishable foodstuffs. The plan for a "Fresh Food Oasis," to be grown on land surrounding St Christopher's in Rutherford, emerged from the idea that it would be a good thing to offer those who access our pantry a selection of fresh seasonal produce to supplement the non-perishable foodstuff they collected. After further thought and reflection, based upon the ethos, “charity gives but justice changes,” the idea of simply handing out more food has evolved into the concept of encouraging and teaching clients how to produce their own fresh food. In the process it is hoped that clients will build self-esteem through the development of a variety of important life skills, such as learning how to grow fresh food from seed … cooking what is harvested … maintaining a healthy diet … learning how to relate and communicate with others in a supportive community environment. Gardening is a fun and healthy pastime, and community gardens are well known for their ability to create and sustain a genuine feeling of friendship and belonging, a much-needed commodity in our society where poverty of spirit (loneliness and isolation) is just as rampant as financial deprivation.
It is envisaged that Fiacre’s Feast will become a safe and supportive community within a community where locals can gather not only to grow food but also contribute to the oasis that this garden will become … a beautiful, creative, productive, green space in the midst of an otherwise barren landscape. It will be a place where people from many different backgrounds can work together in a garden, building friendships and networks of support, sharing stories, swapping seeds and recipes and ideas. Fiacre’s Feast will contribute to the growing need for communities to become more neighbourly, more resilient, more self-sufficient and more conscious of the scarcity of our non-renewable resources thereby contributing to not only the production of food at a local level, but also to both individual and collective “up-skilling.”