As you drive to the back parking lot at ERUUF, you may notice two, wood-framed, raised beds, next to the one already there. As a site for growing annual vegetables, these beds are the first stage of the Community Edible Landscape Program (CELP).

However, this is about much more than simply growing some veggies. By using food as the impetus, the Earth Justice Committee hopes to provide educational, social, spiritual, and community-building opportunities for the congregation. Thanks to a grant from the ERUUF Foundation, Earth Justice is building the infrastructure to make the food-faith connection.

Over the past month, volunteers helped us to construct the raised beds, add and prep the soil, and plant a variety of early and late spring-summer annual vegetables. We used untreated lumber and non-toxic, non-VOC stain to all but eliminate the potential for leaching of contaminants into the soil. We are growing organically (i.e., without chemical fertilizers and pesticides/herbicides) so that the produce is healthy and tasty.

As the spring unfolds, observe the plants as they mature and begin to bear their gifts of food. Better yet, you can help to water, weed, and harvest, teach/learn and experience in the process. Look for the produce available at the CELP table (next to the San Ramon table) and supplemented by surplus from our gardeners and farmers.

Eventually we plan to add berry bushes, fruit trees (such as figs and persimmons), and other perennial edible plants that harmonize with the beauty of the ERUUF grounds while also serving as sources of food, incorporating the principles of permaculture in the process. We are also considering creating an herb spiral garden.

Future options include growing mushrooms in the woods, upgrading our compost system, and installing a small greenhouse. We want to reach out to the community, developing justice-oriented, mutually beneficial relationships through food. However, the design and specific directions the CELP takes will be determined by the people who participate.

We invite RE, covenant groups, chalice circles, and other adult and youth groups, as well as individuals to use the edible landscape infrastructure to fulfill your objectives, whether they are in the garden, the kitchen, the classroom, or during the service.