Blessed Sacrament Farm

Interview With Father Skip Karcinski on the Blessed Sacrament Farm 

At the end of the summer growing season, Pax in Terra sat down with Father Skip, the proprietor and main caretaker of the Blessed Sacrament Farm, to discuss the impact the farm has on his community in Bridgeport. Here is some of what Father Skip had to say!

Blessed Sacrament’s Garden – the first Pax in Terra garden – is now a 4 season garden. This incredible capability is thanks to the cold house that was built a few years ago. As of November 2017, the cold house is planted with winter greens such as mustard greens, collards, spinach, and some last minute peppers

In terms of the other seasons, the growing starts very early with snap peas in March. They grow everything from peas to beans (pole and bush) collards, tomatoes, peppers, a large crop of very hot peppers (ghosts and habeneros) which the people loved because the Latino, African American, and Caribbean populations who benefit from the garden love the hot food.

Father Skip estimates that about 250 people per week are served at the food pantry alone. He noted that once direct aid to the Blessed Sacrament Parish and surrounding neighborhood is included, the number of people served is closer to 350 per week.

One of the unique features that Blessed Sacrament is most proud of is the education of the children that centers around the garden. Each summer Pax in Terra sponsors a few educational activities with the summer camp such as tomato days and smoothie days, but the location of the garden on the premises of Blessed Sacrament Church allows the children to have easy access to the fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the entirety of the 5 week summer camp.

In terms of garden improvements, Father Skip has a plan for soil turnover in order to maximize future productivity. “We’ve come to a point now after about 5 and a half years where the soil needs to be refreshed so next season we will be looking at how to incorporate the compost that is made on site into the beds. Next growing season we will leave a couple beds fallow to start refreshing soil.”

Most importantly, the garden promotes the idea of healthy, locally grown food and incorporates in in a concrete way into the mind of the community. The gardeners have adapted their crops to ensure the greatest agricultural success and have chosen vegetables –specifically the peppers– that the community loves the most so that the garden is truly a reflection of those whom it serves and who serve it.

 

 

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