Campus & Community

Spiritual weeding

3 min read

Bounty goes from garden to Cambridge’s Faith Kitchen

Tucked away along a row of trees behind Harvard Divinity School (HDS) Dean David Hempton’s house, the HDS garden came to flourish in 2009. The brainchild of EcoDiv, a green-minded HDS student group, and the Green Team, made up of HDS staffers, the garden took shape with a grant from the Office for Sustainability.

With the help of Leslie MacPherson Artinian, a department administrator at HDS and the garden’s staff liaison, student Lily Oster recently took charge of the garden’s operations. Together with a group of HDS students, they follow the work ethic that “weeding is a form of spirituality,” and hold this in mind while performing the dirty work the garden requires — planting, composting, watering, and, yes, weeding.

Each week some of the harvested vegetables are artistically plated by MacPherson Artinian and set out at community tea, a weekly social hour held in the Braun Room at HDS. And every other week, student Robin Lutjohann pedals vegetables by bike from the garden to Cambridge’s Faith Kitchen, where he prepares a hearty and healthy meal for the homeless.

— Photographs and text by Rose Lincoln

Harvard Divinity School student and garden intern Lily Oster worked hard this summer but the job wasn’t without its sweet rewards.
Lily Oster found other Divinity School garden helpers through email and by word of mouth.
Lily Oster, Harvard Divinity School student, carefully straddles the boards of a raised bed to give the garden a cool drink of water.
Harvard Divinity School student Lily Oster laid out the garden plan on paper before any planting began.
In the shed, Lily Oster keeps seed records.
Last year’s garlic bulbs are stored and dried.
Green beans grow in the Harvard Divinity School Garden located behind the Dean’s House.
Harvard Divinity School student Hillary Collins-Gilpatrick lends a hand harvesting cherry tomatoes.
First-year Harvard Divinity School student Mitul Daiyan collects arugula in her shawl.
Sunflowers add color to an already vibrant place.
Bean plants and sunflowers frame Harvard Divinity School students Jim Robinson (left) and Seanan Fong.
Au naturel! Jim Robinson lets his bare feet out in the Harvard Divinity School garden. Also pictured is Jennifer Wenz.
Leslie MacPherson Artinian, a department administrator in the Office of Ministry Studies, delivers a vegetable platter to the weekly HDS community tea.
After picking and delivering vegetables from the Harvard Divinity School garden, Robin Lutjohann tacks up a menu outside Faith Kitchen at Faith Lutheran Church.
The church and Faith Kitchen are on Broadway in Cambridge. Robin Lutjohann, also a vicar at the church, helps prepare and serve free meals to the guests using bounty from the Harvard Divinity School garden.