Garden Feeds Community

October 27, 2015 | Bill Zilverberg

Rick and Cindy Wilson of Grants Pass, Ore., have a “growing” ministry. Each year they prepare a large garden that feeds their family, their church and their community.

The Wilsons begin by removing the old plants and cleaning the garden space for the next season. With the help of family and friends, the pair are able to plant, weed, water, grow and harvest an abundance of vegetables. They till the soil, remove the rocks, readjust the watering system, make new rows, lay weed barriers, install stakes with twine for trellises and prepare the greenhouse for the starter plants.

This year the Wilsons have expanded their garden to 200 feet by 150 feet, with 12 rows at 160 feet long. Their garden includes several varieties of different vegetables such as beans, chard, cabbage, zucchini, blueberries, lettuce, peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, squash and more than 200 plants of tomatoes.

There have been many challenges along the way; the Wilsons had to learn how to farm and still maintain their jobs. With such a large garden, time is a huge factor in their lives, and weeding can take up much of it. Canning and preserving is all part of the process as well. Despite their challenges, their garden produces an abundance of vegetables to share.

The Wilsons faithfully harvest the garden each week to share with their Gateway Church family, the Gospel Rescue Mission, the Boys and Girls Club, Dorcas, the Food Bank, and other organizations.

The Wilsons have a greenhouse that is in great need of repair and actually needs to be replaced with a larger one for more diversity. Although plumbing and electricity are readily available, a new greenhouse would cost $4,000 to $6,000 with all the necessary equipment. There is also a shortage of containers for harvesting. The Wilsons give all the abundance away and do not charge for or sell any of the produce.

Rick and Cindy’s son Ryan also gets in on the action by raising pigs and chickens for 4-H Club and sells eggs for extra money. The money he earns goes to the Grants Pass Seventh-day Adventist Church School, where he attends.

The Wilsons are always in need of extra hands to help with planting, weeding and harvesting, and any donations are greatly appreciated by the couple to help with the purchase of a new greenhouse and any other expenses that come along with their “growing” ministry. Those interested may contact Rick at for more information.