We are practicing sustainable agriculture, which is a way of growing food that preserves the vitality of the farm, the surrounding ecosystem, and the local community.
The Vegetable Garden
Our one-acre, organic vegetable garden is inspired by the teachings of Alan Chadwick, as outlined in the book How to Grow More Vegetables and Eliot Coleman in The New Organic Grower. These intensive approaches maximize yields and minimizes the exploitation of natural resources by focusing primarily on deep soil preparation, crop rotation, cover cropping, and composting. In order to manage our gardens using these techniques, we depend heavily on one of the most important renewable sources of energy: the community!
Additionally, we have a passive solar hoop house which allows us to extend the growing season and grow some of our own transplants.
The Forest Garden
On the back acre, we planted a forest garden, or “food forest,” with over 50 trees and shrubs–from apples, peaches and plums to jujubes, paw paws and elderberries. Adapted from Dave Jacke’s definition in his book Edible Forest Gardens, forest gardening is the art and science of putting plants together in woodland-like patterns that forge mutually beneficial relationships and create a resilient ecosystem that bears useful food, fiber and medicinals for humans. In addition to the forest garden, we have nearly 200 prolific blueberry bushes.
The Native Plants Garden
Dedicated in memory of Katherine McDade –a local, native plant enthusiast– this garden is a place for ecological observation and prayer. By walking along a meandering path through the woods, people are encouraged to appreciate the plants and mushrooms which grow natively in this region.
Bread is an important symbol, especially for Christians, yet in a world with sliced bread, the church often fails to consider how the grain for our daily bread is grown, how it is prepared, or with whom it is shared around the supper table. At Anathoth, we use a brick, wood-fired oven to explore the sacramental nature of bread making, beyond the communion table, by growing some of the ingredients in the garden and baking the loaves together as a community.