Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


StDunstanGardenEileen Cullinane, of St. Dunstan Parish, Glastonbury, stands between two beds of produce she helped to grow as a parish project to distribute to nearby food pantries. (Photo submitted)



GLASTONBURY – Two local food pantries will have more than 60 pounds of extra produce to distribute this year, thanks to the efforts of garden enthusiasts from St. Dunstan Parish in East Glastonbury.

A group of six 2009 JustFaith graduates from St. Dunstan and five other parishioners are trying their skills at raising fresh vegetables. They will be distributed to two food pantries along with donated, packaged and canned goods collected throughout the year.St. Dunstan

St. Dunstan parish council member Eileen Cullinane received a letter in 2010 from Harvest Now, an organization based in Fairfield County, asking if the parish would like to help out with a garden project for families in need. Ms. Cullinane asked the JustFaith alumni to become involved in it.

JustFaith Ministries offers programs that provide opportunities for people to study the tradition of justice that is articulated by the Scriptures, the Church’s historical witness, theological inquiry and Catholic social teaching. Sessions have been offered locally over recent years.

Peter Kennedy, who organizes the Third Sunday collection throughout the year at St. Dunstan, thought the project was a great idea to support his efforts in providing fresh vegetables to the St. Vincent de Paul pantry in Glastonbury and St. Michael Parish pantry in Hartford.

Teams of gardeners take turns watering, weeding and harvesting the two garden beds that the parish rents from Wind Hill Farm, a community-based farm started by Barbara Wagner, a Glastonbury attorney.

Father George M. Couturier, pastor of St. Dunstan, fronted the $75 bed fee for the garden, and the JustFaith grads purchased plants and provided labor.

"We surmounted a huge problem, as there is no water at the farm and we had to bring it with us when we went to weed and plant," said Ms. Cullinane. She said the soil is rich and shows no trace of contaminants.

Rosemarie Braun, a parishioner and volunteer with the project, thinks the group should increase the number of garden beds they till and plant next year. "The project has been so successful and community-building. I’m having a lot of fun, too," she said.

Over 60 pounds of beets, lettuce, onions, string beans, squash, cucumbers and basil have been delivered to the two food pantries. Growing can continue into November and the gardeners are planning a fall crop to extend their harvest.

"We’re thinking of growing garlic over the winter for harvest next spring," Ms. Cullinane said. "What has been so wonderful is that other members of the town got to know that we were growing for the food pantries and gave us some of their abundance."

For information on how to help out, call St. Dunstan’s at (860) 633-3317.