Food Always in the Home (FAITH) was a missions project started by Harold Watson while serving with the Foreign Mission Board in the Philippines. The original concept was a way to have rural villages implement simple gardening practices that would provide a year-round food supply. Scott Watson, Harold’s grandson, grew up listening to the stories of how important these gardens were for rural communities that had limited access to food supplies.
In 2020, Hosanna Hot Meals had become very successful and was continuing to grow during the pandemic by delivering meals to home-bound individuals. At this time, Scott began discussions with the pastor, and Scott presented the idea of building raised garden beds in the church’s parking lot to provide fresh produce to Hosanna Hot Meals. Steve Beene, Hosanna Hot Meals coordinator, reached out to Scott and they began discussing how to get these gardens started. Steve and Scott have been working with each other ever since. Rob Rhea joined their team and has been immensely helpful in keeping the garden watered on a regular basis.
FAITH Gardens became officially operational in September 2020 with 4 raised boxes completed and with soil ready for planting. We now have 30 boxes in production.
FAITH Gardens has successfully grown lettuce, okra, collard greens, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, and carrots. We plan our plantings using items that are easy to maintain, easy to harvest, and that most everyone will be able to eat. Currently, we have sweet potatoes growing and are experimenting with an upland variety of rice. FAITH Gardens follows the LSU Ag-Centers planting guide on when to plant various vegetables and it has proven very successful.
For the future of FAITH, we plan to continue the parking lot garden system and we hope to expand FAITH to its own organization. We would like to form a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that will partner with local individuals and groups to build and maintain vegetable gardens that provide fresh produce to food-insecure people in our community. We have started working with a family in Abita Springs that shares in the vision to begin implementing FAITH Farms – which will expand from garden production to meat/protein production.
Sponsor a New Box:
When we first built the garden boxes, it was an average of $225 to build and fill a box with soil. We built our garden boxes to be 4 feet wide x 8 feet long and 2.5 feet tall. The frames are made from 2×6’s with metal tin sides and we painted them with a barn paint to help water proof. There is no bottom. I decided to build them this size so small children (at the time Hosanna had a pre-school on-site) could see the garden and it afforded the ability to sit and handle weeds. Now with increases on lumber, I would estimate the same build would average $280.
Donations are also appreciated, the team can do a lot with $20.00. The typical seasonal seed/plant order for the garden is around $150 every 3 months (this covers seeds, potted plants, seed starting mix, and fertilizer). Additionally, Scott has put together a crude operational budget with a list of items needed along with a wish list.
People that may be interested in helping out, we are always looking for assistance with watering. Also, we meet on Monday nights at 4:00 pm at the old Hosanna parking lot (now the Fields Church).
If anyone wants to discuss FAITH or learn more, Scott Watson can be reached at 601-209-7861.