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The goal of this project was to transform a portion of an at-risk community in the city of Compton, California, utilizing urban gardening techniques. It was a project in collaboration with Light and Life Church, Metro Community Development Corporation and utilized the methods of the Los Angeles Master Gardeners Association. The Compton community garden is a sustainable project to provide empowerment for urban dwellers by providing space to grow food, education on how to grow the food, and a green space for the community.

A theological exegesis provides biblical understanding on how gardens can be a mission of transformation within urban ministry contexts. This final project analyzes how the garden in Eden, Christ’s ministry paradigm of breaking the chains of injustice, and the story of the Good Samaritan serve as a template for ministry. It also explores how Jürgen Moltmann’s Liberation theology can further inform Free Methodist ecclesiology.

Land was donated to use for the Compton garden project. Teams of people from multiple churches and organizations participated in the cleaning, prepping, designing and installation of the garden. In a collaborative effort, money was raised to fund the start-up costs. The garden is sustained by implementing asset-based community development tools, local leadership and organizations that have partnered with the Compton garden project since its inception.

Prior to installing the garden, a survey of local residents was administered. The results were favorable for this type of project—89 percent of respondents expressed an interest in learning how to grow their food, and responded favorably to leasing a garden bed for at least one year. From inception to installation, this project describes the stages of creating a community garden within urban contexts. Urban gardening is a strategy churches can implement that empowers under-resourced people physically, spiritually and relationally.

Content Reader: Jude Tiersma Watson, PhD

Date Created

April 2018

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