Parish Garden

Parish Garden Ministry

The St. Joseph Parish Garden was founded in 2010 by a small group of Parish Volunteers. The team constructed 8 raised beds in an enclosed area just east of the School. The next year, 4 more raised beds were added along with a composting area which was designed by Kris Potter, a Master Composter, and a founding Parish Garden volunteer.

This area receives its material right from the St. Joseph campus and consists of coffee grounds, grass clippings, shredded paper, fall leaves and even corn husks from the former long running Sausage Festival.

The beds are planted each spring using a Square Foot Planting Technique which ensures uniformity and organization for each bed.

Each year, the garden has received up to two dozen tomato plants, especially selected by Al Pavelko from the WSU Master Gardener Program. All of the summer garden harvest is donated to the Vancouver Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Last year, Mike Parker took over as Parish Garden Coordinator and Quentin Smith (St. Joseph School teacher) and his 5th graders also began helping with this Ministry by starting seeds in their classroom and then planting and tending to the raised beds outside of the school.

The Parish Garden receives a small annual grant from the Archdiocese of Seattle Catholic Relief Services (CRS)/ Rice Bowl Collection. These funds are used to buy soil, gardening tools, gloves, seeds and plant starts, bark chips for between the beds, a frost proof faucet and a drip irrigation system.

Parish and school families are always welcome to volunteer in this unique parish ministry.

Founding members of the Parish Garden Committee include Steve Brown, Larry Cadorniga, Cecily Schmidt, Kris Potter, David Martel, along with Fr. Joseph Altenhofen and Fr. Gary Lazzeroni.

How to get involved!

The parish garden consists of several raised beds, each one named for a Saint of the Church. If you would like to learn how to garden, compost, and/or help those in need within our local community, please join the Parish Garden team by contacting Adrienne Rizzo, Anne Stephens or David Martel.


History of the Garden:

The St. Joseph Parish Garden started out as an individual project under the stewardship of David Martel, a long-time parishioner and graduate of St. Joseph Catholic School. He had applied for and received 'seed' money from the CRS Rice Bowl special collection to start a garden whose harvest would go to St. Vincent de Paul here in Vancouver.

The purpose of our garden:

Now in its twelfth season (2022) on campus, we continue to reap the bounty to offer those in need fresh, organic vegetables from our garden. Along with David, a dedicated group of parishioners has been working diligently to plan, plant, nurture and cultivate the garden with the goal of harvesting primarily vegetables, herbs and flowers. The recipients of this bounty include St. Vincent de Paul (who in turn distributes to needy families in our local community) and flowers for the Arts and Decorations Committee to help beautify the church liturgies.

Jesus said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest." - Luke 10:2

The list of our garden bed saints:

St. Aloysius,St. Bernadette, St. Catherine, St. Damian, St. Edward, St. Fiacre, St. Gerard, St. Honore, St. Isidore, St. Joan of Arc, St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Lawrence