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Meeting regarding the future of the St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth scheduled for 12/18

On Tuesday, December 18th, a meeting will be held to discuss the future of the Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth located on Phoenixville's north side. The garden is currently run by St. John's United Church of Christ which leases the land from the Housing Authority of Chester County Board. On September 1, 2009, this lease expires, and the church is trying to save the garden by having the HACC either extend the lease for another 30 years or to have them sell the land under the agreement that it will continue to be used as it has been for the past sixteen years.

From an email I received regarding the meeting:
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Proposal
The Consistory of St. John’s United Church of Christ proposes that the Housing Authority of Chester County either extend the current lease to the long-term (30 years) for the water access and land on which St. John’s United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth has stood for the past 10 years or permit this land to be donated or purchased by the Borough or County as a recognized public park dedicated to community gardening, community integration, environmental awareness and local hunger relief as it has done so successfully for the past 10 years.

The current lease expires on September 1, 2009. Consistory believes that keeping this de facto public park as much-desired public open space and continuing our multi-award winning programs on this particular site of public land provides services to the Fairview Village tenants and the greater Phoenixville community that are too valuable to lose. The reasonable solution is for St. John’s United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth, as it is, where it is, to become a du jure, rather than de facto, public park

Sue White created the following YouTube video which highlights the community garden in August 2007 and illustrates many of the themes in this proposal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3z0ysB7NfY

The Next Step:
Tuesday, December 18, 4:30 pm, Housing Authority of Chester County Board Meeting, King Terrace Apartments, 300 High Street, Phoenixville, PA.

At this Board Meeting, during Public Participation, St. John’s United Church of Christ will formally present the attached proposal to the HACC Board and state why it believes that the lease for the community garden should be continued, rather than allowed to run out on September 1, 2009. Public Participation begins at 4:30 pm. Anyone from the public may address the Board during Public Participation – like Borough Council Meetings, you can speak for up to 5 minutes.

Questions about this Consistory action may be addressed to the Pastor, the Rev. Linda Gruber at 610-933-5311 or at gruber@stjohnsucc.com
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About The Gardens

The St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden was founded in 1991 in response to the denominational priorities of Hunger Relief and Integrity of Creation, Justice and Peace. Today, the St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden is the primary supplier of in-season, fresh produce to the food bank at Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS). Anyone in the Phoenixville area who wants to grow their own food organically can join the community garden. We ask only that gardeners use organic growing techniques and donate 10% (the Biblical tithe) to someone in need or to a local agency which works on behalf of others (Phoenixville Area Community Services ["PACS"], Philibundance, etc.)

There are no required fees to join St. John's Organic Community Garden -- only a desire and a willingness to grow one's own food organically and return to the community at least 10% of the produce. St. Johns United Church of Christ remains the largest in season provider of fresh produce for the food bank administered by the Phoenixville Area Community Services, located on Gay and Church Streets in Phoenixville.

For more information, please see the website that was setup by St. John's about the gardens and labyrinth.

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