The R3 Community Recovery Garden is a volunteer effort to help those in need in our area. Living in the area I became aware of the needs of the elderly, low-income, and homeless in our area. There was a local lot that was empty and growing nasty weeks but little else. I felt God tugging on my heart. I found myself thinking, “If we could purchase the land and turn it into a garden we could help others in our area that struggle with poverty, addiction or homelessness and beautify our neighborhood.” It was a win-win idea so that is where R3 Community Recovery Garden began.

Everyone is welcomed at the R3 Garden. Anyone can come and work in the garden as well as share in its bounty. We have future plans to build a small brick cob oven and a barbeque so that we can serve soup and bread to those who come to the garden. We hope to raise enough money to build a gazebo in the center of the garden with tables where people can sit, talk, and enjoy the garden and each other. Our goal is that everyone that enters the garden to be fed spirit, soul, and body!

Working in a garden is very therapeutic and can be very rewarding. Watching something you planted grow can give one a sense of accomplishment. This can foster feelings of self-confidence and self-esteem that can then be taken out into the rest of the world. It can create momentum that can carry a person forward so that they believe they can accomplish anything.

The items we have selected to grow are to enhance healing through good nutrition. There is much healing the body need to do once someone is free of addiction or coming out of poverty. We have selected items that we believe that can support those who have few fresh vegetables and fruits.

Working in a garden has many benefits both for an individual as well as the local community. We are located in an area that has a very diverse blend of cultures and a very high rate of poverty. We are located within a few short blocks of a large low income housing complex and a men’s rescue mission. Coming together to build this garden feeds the soul of the community and it fosters a greater sense of community. People can connect and come to know their neighbors. It assists in breaking down the barriers of language, age, and cultural differences and opens the door to unity within the community. It also assists in creating structure so other social issues are more easily addressed.

Stacks Image 374
Stacks Image 449
I found myself homeless and in need of safe and sober housing. I had no where else to go. I checked out the extremely limited options available in the area. I found that with the other programs I would have to be out on the streets from 8am - 5pm even in the winter. I could only be in the shelters at night. I was afraid I would find myself out on the streets freezing in the cold. I was terrified and didn't know what to do. Then I heard about Restored - Redeemed & Renewed. At first I was scared to come to R3. But upon arriving I found a neat clean house, that had a homey feel, where I felt welcomed. There is a supportive and encouraging environment here that has helped me make progress on my road to recovery. The staff really cares! Their support has really helped me stay on my journey to sobriety.

Organizing The Community - Community gardens bring people together from a wide variety of backgrounds and increase a sense of community ownership and stewardship.

Crime Prevention - Community gardening increase eyes on the street and the many police departments as an effective community crime prevention strategy.

Cultural Opportunities - Community gardens allow people from diverse backgrounds to work side-by-side on common goals without speaking the same language.

Youth -
Community gardens offer unique opportunities to teach youth about where food comes from, the importance of community and stewardship and how to interact with each other in a socially meaningful and physically productive way.

Food Production - Community gardens provide access to nutritionally rich foods that may otherwise be unavailable to low-income households and allows families without land of their own the opportunity to produce food.

Health - Studies have shown that community gardeners and their children eat healthier diets than do non-gardening families.

Green Space - Community gardens add beauty to the community and heighten people's awareness and appreciation for living things.

We thank St. Paul Park and Recreation for posting a list of community gardening benefits on their website. The R3 version is mainly from that source with a couple of additions. Any list of benefits can never be complete.

The American Community Gardening Association's website is also a great resource for learning more about the many positive benefits of community gardening in the U.S. and Canada.