Community Finds Common Ground Addressing Food Insecurity

Community Finds Common Ground Addressing Food Insecurity

Farm stands seem to be everywhere on the North Fork of Long Island. Just-picked, straight from the farm, fruit and vegetables are the draw for many visitors. But for many people living in the area, fresh nutritious vegetables are an unattainable luxury item.

The team behind the Common Ground project is looking to change that.

Common Ground is a ministry of Holy Trinity, Greenport and Church of the Redeemer, Mattituck with a simple goal: grow food to give away to people in need. A simple goal does not mean a simple project. A lot of pieces had to come together.

The congregations and their vicar, the Rev. Roger Joslin began exploring this idea in the summer of 2017. After months of discussions with community members who had expertise in farming and gardening, and others who were addressing food insecurity in their area, they were encouraged to discover enthusiasm for the project.

When Father Joslin brought this idea to Episcopal Ministries, he was connected to Peter Treiber who founded Treiber Farms in Southold in 2014. Although his farm was still in its early stages of development, Peter had always wanted the farm to help people in need and was excited to get started. With a 50-by-100-foot plot of land donated by Treiber Farms, Common Ground found its home.

Parishioners are at the heart of the ministry, tending to the garden, distributing the produce or assisting in a variety of other roles. But the aptly named, Common Ground garden has brought the church and the wider community together around a common mission.

We’re the kind of church that doesn’t like to isolate ourselves,” the Rev. Joslin said. “We really like to be a part of the larger community.” 

With support from a master gardener from Cornell Cooperative Extension; the Boy Scouts who prepared seedlings for planting and are building wood frames for raised garden beds; the town of Southold which donated 50 yards of organic compost; local businesses that provided donations and steep discounts on supplies; the community has fully embraced this project.

Common Ground will soon be launching an “adopt a bed” program to invite additional participation from their neighbors. And if you are driving through Southold on a Saturday morning and notice some people working in the garden by the American flag truck on County Route 48 at Treiber Farms, they welcome you to stop and lend a hand.

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