Growing the Most Good: Fayetteville Shelter Cultivating Hope in Community Garden Project

Jun 20, 2023 | by Stephanie Chastain

In the heart of Fayetteville, a flourishing community garden is making a meaningful impact, inspired by a vision of hope and guided by a verse from Leviticus 19:9-10.

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.  And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.”

This inspiring initiative, led by The Salvation Army, not only cultivates fresh produce but also nurtures a spirit of generosity and compassion towards those in need.

The Fayetteville Community Garden, nestled outside the Emergency Shelter, serves as a vibrant symbol of the organization's commitment to providing nourishment for the body and soul. Thanks to a generous grant, this transformative project took root in 2022 with the goal of making organic fruits and vegetables accessible to the community they serve.

Under the guidance of Shelter Director Joe Coultas, the garden has flourished into a diverse sanctuary of natural abundance. Lush tomatoes, succulent strawberries, vibrant peppers, and an array of herbs are just a glimpse of the bountiful harvest that has been lovingly cultivated. With each carefully tended plant, the community garden not only provides nutritious sustenance but also a source of inspiration and hope.

Joe Coultas, the driving force behind this remarkable endeavor, passionately shares, "I want people to see the garden and our shelter and be like, there's hope! When you care about something, it means so much more when it comes together." His unwavering dedication and the collaborative efforts of numerous volunteers have transformed this once barren space into a flourishing oasis.

The guiding principle of leaving gleanings from the harvest has become the garden's guiding ethos. Recognizing that abundance is meant to be shared, the Fayetteville Community Garden aims to produce a surplus of fresh produce. The excess is made available to those in need within the community, ensuring that no one goes hungry.

Embracing the vision of becoming the "Gold Standard" for shelters, The Salvation Army's beautification project extends beyond the garden itself. Plans to update the outdoor seating pavilion and enhance the kennel housing residents' beloved pets further exemplify the commitment to creating a welcoming and compassionate environment.

As the garden thrives and its purpose expands, so does the impact it has on the community. Volunteers from various groups are warmly welcomed, offering their time and expertise to support the growth and maintenance of this remarkable space. Together, they sow the seeds of compassion, nurture growth, and harvest a shared sense of community and care.

In the words of Joe Coultas, "Everyone has come together for this project. Everyone has had a hand in that garden." The garden is not only a source of nourishment but also a testament to the transformative potential of working together as a community united in a common purpose.

The Salvation Army and its Fayetteville Community Garden invite you to join them in this noble endeavor, where seeds of hope and generosity grow, and the harvest is shared with open hearts and open hands.

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