Cultivating Neighborhood

Why have so many churches started community gardens over the past decade? Are they simply a fad? Or do community gardens somehow connect more deeply with the mission of the churches that launch them? What can churches and faith-based institutions interested in starting community gardens learn from those that have started their own gardens over the past decade? And what would it mean for a church to put Christ in the center of its community gardening efforts? In order to discern best practices for launching Christ-centered community gardens moving forward, Cultivating Neighborhood begins with a brief survey of the history of community gardens in the United States and builds a constructive theological framework for community gardening grounded in the practice of Christian hospitality. It continues with two case studies of church-sponsored community gardens and one case study of a community garden sponsored by a Christian college, all three of which were created between 2003 and 2011. The results of this research conclude with a new definition of Christ-centered community gardening and an outline of fifteen best practices for launching a Christ-centered community garden.

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