Shane Claiborne (you already know I love me some Shane!) wrote,
"I had come to see that the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor. . . . I long for the Calcutta slums to meet the Chicago suburbs, for lepers to meet landowners and for each to see God's image in the other. . . . I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end."
Powerful concept, huh?
The Karpophoreō Project based in Austin, Texas, is making it happen! I recently finished the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker (thanks, Justin!). It's a good one. Anyway, Jen makes mention of the KP Project, and I fell in love with the idea. According to Jen (you'd feel like you were on a first-name basis with her too, if you'd read the book), here's the concept:
"Willing partners offer KP their land for a backyard garden and/or backyard farm (the farm involves chickens, and I'm sorry, but I can only handle so much, ya'll), and the KP folks BUILD AND PLANT THE WHOLE GARDEN. Their team includes regular volunteers as well as formerly homeless men and women.
"Then, they come out weekly and prune, treat, and harvest. Half the produce stays with the homeowner, and the other half is sold at farmer's market or in CSA boxes. The formerly homeless who work the gardens keep 70 percent of the profit. Bam. Sustainable income from locally grown organic produce with nearly zero overhead. Genius.
"What a creative use of privately owned land in lieu of costly public property! What vision to connect privilieged landowners with the chronically homeless, building relationships and making something beautiful together."
Ummm. Seriously. Has there ever been a cooler idea? I mean, how many people have you met who "would love to garden but have no idea where to begin"? Maybe you're even one of those people. This amazing concept teaches organic gardening as it helps lift its employees out of poverty. Empowerment for all!
I may just be really out of the loop, but I've never heard of anything like this. If I had a little more gardening experience, though, I'd probably be trying to figure out a way to copy-cat this right here in my community!