by Rich Tedeschi
This year Imagine Community Gardens is joyfully celebrating our fourth year of operations. In this time, we have had wonderful opportunities to feed many resident families, build friendly relationships with different church leaders, volunteers and resident gardeners, and to help lead the transformation in the neighborhoods in which we invest.
We’ve partnered with The Hope House, a nonprofit organization servicing homeless women and homeless women with children in the City of Buffalo by installing and maintaining an on-site vegetable garden and natural park area for the families to begin their healing. We’ve developed close relationships with local cooperative extension personnel, government officials, business leaders, and charitable foundations. This year we will get to teach more than 75 families how to grow and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from their own gardens. They are also provided with an opportunity to directly donate a portion of their produce and herbs to nearby health impaired neighbors, local food pantries, and soup kitchens.
In 2014, we were honored by the New York State Nursery & Landscape Association with a State Environmental Beautification Award for our landscape site design incorporating attractive border landscaping and ICG’s distinctive H shaped raised garden planter configuration.
We are extremely thankful for the many organizations that have supported us financially, for the people who have helped forge our connections with other organizations and who have helped focus us with our goals. Bob Zima and I have developed a close friendship and partnership since our first meeting when we took Bob’s idea and made it a reality.
But mostly, we are so thankful to our Lord, who has blessed us beyond what we thought was possible as young men starting our careers. God has provided us with supportive people, health, resources, and talents needed to turn a wild idea into a meaningful reality. He also opened the hearts of so many willing volunteers to partner with us, without whom, ICG would never be the success we have become for His glory.
We look forward to our future as we continue to develop ICG and to solve the challenges placed before us with integrity and humbleness. We remain prayerful, and we will treat future opportunities, the people we get to meet, and the places we are led with respect and grace. It is our hope that we will reflect our Lord properly to a lost world, encouraging and nurturing as we go.