Disciples News Service

Garden just keeps growing and growing

At the border of New Mexico and Texas, the Jardin de Milagros grows more than 90,000 pounds of fresh produce each year and gleans another 90K in an effort to offer fresh, healthy food to the Kelley Memorial Food Pantry in El Paso for people who are food insecure. On just three acres, Jerry and Suzie Hobson, members of First Christian in El Paso, incorporate volunteers, learning opportunities for the young and outsized hearts for mission into a wonder and a ministry.

Given the climate, there is fresh food most of the year. A greenhouse helps the Hobsons produce tomatoes and seedlings. More than 30 different kinds of produce are grown or gleaned from other farms in the course of the year ranging from cool weather crops like broccoli to herbs and melons.

And this garden grows more than squash and pak choi. Education in a vital component in the operation of the garden. Elementary school children come to learn about growing food. Civic and religious organizations volunteer their time. Youth from Missouri, South Carolina and California spent part of their spring break there learning how to transplant onions and prepare rows for sweet potatoes. Other faith groups come 50 at a time to help harvest.

Since 2010, Jardin de Milagros has produced some 440,000 pounds of good, fresh food and gleaned another 222,000 since beginning those partnerships in 2012. All on a budget that averages $73,000 annually including materials and labor.