Anna (left) and Hannah.Our organization, Creation Keepers, is a circle of eco-minded folks who live at the intersection of faith and environmentalism, ever-vigilant to ways we encounter God through God’s creation. We have weekly gardening at the Theology Garden (for gardeners of all skill levels), monthly hiking trips, yearly conferences, workshops, and documentary screenings. Additionally, every fall we host a garden warming party where people can drink hot chocolate and learn about what’s growing in the garden. In the spring we host a “kale-wrap-pop” party where we make wraps and sandwiches using the produce in the garden. These are great community events that get people gathered in the fresh green space.

We believe that God created all of the earth in God’s image and commends it to our care. Because of this simple mandate and our desire to contribute to a more healthy community, Candler reached out to Emory’s Educational Food Garden and asked to become a garden site a few years ago. The garden moved around during the construction, but is now in its permanent location on Dickey Drive, and is officially one of nine gardens across Emory’s campus. These gardens raise awareness about how food grows and remind those who pass by, eat its fruits, or tend its soil, that growing food locally offers an opportunity to take initiative in changing the way our society thinks about food. While our garden is small, it serves as a simple witness that we care and that we are committed to enacting our faith.

Digging in the dirt and picking a bouquet of fresh herbs or a handful of sun-warmed tomatoes in the middle of a theological education can be an enriching and transformative experience. In the garden, we raise “slow food” by taking the time to delight in the cycles of life and appreciating the natural processes that go into growing food. When we see food as only a means by which to fill our stomachs, hurriedly and without thought, we lose the ability to see food as the sacred gift that it is. The garden is a great way for students to stay grounded in the earth while in seminary. It’s here where practice and theory meet and that the sacred art of growing food becomes a testament to the power of patience, hard work, a little rain and a lot of grace.  

Next time you are free on a Thursday at noon, come out to the Theology Garden and join a community of people working together to grow food slowly. You’ll most likely go home with a bag full of fresh vegetables, and you might even get a little dirt under your fingernails. If you happen to be free the first Saturday of the month in the morning, climb a hill with us or explore a new forest. We think you’ll probably get a glimpse of God in a new and surprising way.