July 22 Launch for Summer Harvest Table

Gardening is Giving Sign Outlines.jpg

We hope you had the chance to join in with DUCC folks at our Gardening is Giving program in May as Creation Sarah and Compost Ken talked about container gardening, making dirt, and saving our bee populations.

Here’s the next component of our Creation Justice Summer programming — Our Gardening is Giving Summer Harvest Table!

Beginning Sunday, July 22, we invite all DUCC folk to bring along garden bounty they wish to share with members and with the community. We will set up tables outside the church for your veggies, fruit, cut herbs and cut flowers. This sharing of our bounty will be on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have harvest to share, we welcome you to add it to the harvest table before the service.

Harvest table will be available as long as our harvests last. Let’s share what we grow!


Gardening is Giving Recap

What a wonderful evening we had! Creation Sarah Swift Morgan shared the DUCC’s plan for sharing our harvests with each other and the Christian Neighbors Food Bank. She showed us her method of getting remarkable yields from tiny gardening containers, and many ideas for making them.

Compost Ken, our dear friend, came back to give us a crash course on making the best loamy, nutritious soil from our yard and food waste without a lot of effort or fuss. In particular we saw his invention — a good looking compost container for any yard — that is very easy to use and maintain. See pics of the bin below and email Ken if you’d like to buy or build one for your yard.  Here’s a crib sheet of Ken’s best compost tips.

Together we watched this, which we recommend watching more than once:

And we explored all the kinds of plants and flowers and shrubs and trees we can be planting in our own yards to keep our bee populations healthy and strong. This is a world-wide effort underway, like a global victory-garden movement, if you know what we mean. And we encourage everyone with a pot to plant in or a yard or acreage to landscape to consider planting to bring back the bees.

Here are the slides from Sarah and Ken’s presentations. Please take the time to review them.

Growing is Giving Presentation

DIY Composting Workshop.EDIT

Planting for the Bees 2

Sarah also recommended this book, because Mason Bees are wildly good pollinators, and it’s easy to host homes for them, which can be easily made or purchased in gardening stores in real life and online:

And Ken wanted to point out the so-cool seed library at Herrick District Library in Holland:


And he asks that we find ways to support the Holland Area Beekeepers Association, and find ways to thank them:


We are gathering a mailing list, if you would be interested in hearing about our Creation Justice Programs by email. It’s easy to sign up, just send us an email at ducccjt@gmail.com, or subscribe to this blog using the link above, and we will make sure to alert you of upcoming events.

Happy planting, people.

Please share this post with the gardeners you love!




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Gardening is Giving

When:      May 8
Time:        6:30pm Refreshments, 7:00pm Presentation
Where:     Friendship Hall, Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ,
                   56 Wall Street, Douglas, MI 49406
This Spring the DUCC Creation Justice Team’s spring gardening program is “Growing  Is Giving,” an exploration of gardening as a way of giving back to both the community and the environment. A slate of speakers — soon to be announced! — will talk to us about how our own patches of land and what we grow on them can replenish the soil, feed our friends and neighbors, and how what we grow can have a very real impact on feeding the pollinators we need to sustain growth for all of the landscapes we share. Stay tuned for the full list of speakers, old friends and new, and reserve your space now by signing up at the DUCC Friendship Hall sign-up sheet, or on the DUCC Facebook event page.

Honor Thy Mother (Earth)

Our Earth Day celebrations began with a few sore backs and shoulders after dozens of our members showed up to clean 4 miles of highway around our town. See the article all about it, featured on the National UCC newsletter, and more great team photos on the DUCC Instagram account. Special shoutout to Pastor Sal for winning the Michigan Interfaith Power and Light sermon contest for his beautiful Earth Day Message. Stay tuned for announcements of our spring programs. Great work ahead!


Food Waste Program Report

Here in the United States, we throw away 40% of our food supply every year.

Food in our landfills ferments and produces methane gas.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, while methane doesn’t linger as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it is initially far more devastating to the climate because of how effectively it absorbs heat. In the first two decades after its release, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.

While contributing to climate change, that wasted food could have fed people who simply don’t have enough to eat in our country. How can we work together to change these statistics?

On Thursday, March 15, the Creation Justice Team at Douglas UCC welcomed Tracey Shafroth, national and local environmentalist, to speak with us on the subject of food waste. She defined the problem for us and helped us understand how communities and individuals are working together to help curb the problem.

Here, along with Tracey’s presentation, is a list of resources we can explore to understand food waste and address it in our home and community. Do you have other resources or ideas? Please contact us to let us know.

Download Tracey Shafroth’s Food Waste PowerPoint File

Explore Food Waste

Reduce Food Waste at Home

Eating Foods In Season

Help Fund Programs that Fight Food Waste in Our Cities

Food pantries within 25 of Douglas, MI:

Christian Neighbors, Inc. (Douglas) (0.4 miles)
(269)857-1050 | 100 Saint Peters Drive, Douglas MI, 49406

Ladders of Hope USA Inc. (6.4 miles)
(269)340-1113 | 717 E. Main Street, Fennville MI, 49408

Shekinah Revival Ministries (7.7 miles)
(616)392-5945 | 1941 Washington Ave., Holland MI, 49423

Providence CRC Pantry (9.4 miles)
(616)396-5661 | 821 Ottawa Avenue, Holland MI, 49423

Hamilton CRC (10.4 miles)
(269)751-8877 | 3596 47th Street, Hamilton MI, 49419

Community Action House (10.6 miles)
(616)392-2368 | 345 West 14th Street, Holland MI, 49423

Holland Spanish SDA Church (10.7 miles)
(517)331-8332 | 169 W. 16th Street, Holland MI, 49423

St. Vincent dePaul Center/St. Frances deSales-Holland (10.8 miles)
(616)392-6700 | 170 W. 13th Street, Holland MI, 49423

Salvation Army – Holland (12.0 miles)
(616)392-4461 | 104 Clover Street, Holland MI, 49423

Love INC of Northwest Allegan County-Pullman (12.2 miles)
(269)236-6295 | 943 56th Street, Pullman MI, 49450

Heights of Hope (12.4 miles)
(616)392-8559 | 995 E. 8th Street, Holland MI, 49423

Community Action House – North (12.9 miles)
(616)738-1170 | 665 136th Avenue STE 60, Holland MI, 49424

His Harvest Stand Pantry (14.7 miles)
(616)748-6003 | 100 South Pine Street, Suite 100, Zeeland MI, 49464

First Congregational South Haven-We Care Food Pantry (16.8 miles)
(269)637-4342 | 651 Phoenix Street, South Haven MI, 49090

Christ Embassy/IMA (17.9 miles)
(269)925-8583 | 1301 M-43 Hwy Ste #4, South Haven MI, 49090

Church of Christ – South Haven (18.2 miles)
(269)637-4861 | 73121 M-43, South Haven MI, 49090

In His Name Ministries/JJMWM (22.7 miles)
(616)896-1570 | 4055 Van Buren, Hudsonville MI, 49426

Carpenter’s House Outreach Church (22.9 miles)
(616)662-2660 | 4995 32nd Avenue, Hudsonville MI, 49426

Love INC – Hudsonville (23.4 miles)
(616)662-3300 | 3300 Van Buren, Hudsonville MI, 49426

St. Vincent DePaul Society – Bangor (23.7 miles)
(269)427-8009 | 201 South Walnut, Bangor MI, 49013

Van Buren United Civic Organization (24.1 miles)
(269)764-8854 | 73292 34th Avenue, Covert MI, 49043

First Congregational Church of Covert (24.3 miles)
(269)906-0906 | 73893 34th Ave., Covert MI, 49043

Epiphany Lutheran Church Pantry (25.0 miles)
(616)681-7205 | 4219 Park Lane, Dorr MI, 49323

Christian Fellowship Assembly Pantry (25.0 miles)
(616)895-7614 | 9930 64th Avenue, Allendale MI, 49401

Before visiting any pantry, we suggest calling ahead to confirm their hours and eligibility requirements.

(This food pantry data courtesy of feedwm.org)

What a Waste: Food Waste and Our Future

What a Waste: Food Waste and Our Future
Thursday, March 15, 6:30pm
Douglas UCC Friendship Hall
56 Wall Street, Douglas, MI
Program is free, public is welcome.

On Thursday, March 15, the Creation Justice Team’s next environmental education program entitled What A Waste: Food Waste and Our Future, presenting local and national Environmentalist Tracey Shafroth, who will teach us about the impact of food waste on our environment and steps we can take at home and in the world to help curb it. Tracey serves on the Michigan Advisory Board of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, on the Midwest Council of the National Parks Conservation Association, is a fellow and member of the Keller Science Action Center at the Field Museum, a strategic advisor to the Vital Lands Program of the Grand Victoria Foundation, and a volunteer for Freshwater Futures. We will open the doors of the Friendship Hall at 6:30pm for dessert and coffee. Tracey’s talk will begin at 7pm, with time afterward questions and more conversation. This event is open to the public. Please encourage your friends and neighbors to join us.

How About a Carbon Fast for Lent?

Michigan Interfaith Power and Light offers this Carbon Fast Calendar. We thought it made a great way to update our Lenten traditions. They write:

Why fast?
Most religious traditions have some form of fasting as part of their spiritual practice. The Muslim season of Ramadan is perhaps the most widely known and practiced form of fasting worldwide. For many Christians, the season of Lent is associated with fasting as part of the preparation for Easter.

As a spiritual practice, fasting purifies us and sharpens our intentions. Like pebbles in our shoe, the hunger pangs of traditional fasting are a steady reminder of an intention to leave behind an old way of life and to prepare for spiritual rebirth. The feeling of hunger prompts a continued awareness of the need to become more conscientious in our actions and to whole-heartedly commit to the inward transformation we seek. Fasting also reminds us to keep in our hearts the plight of the poor and the imperative to care for the least of these.

Many of us grew up “giving something up” for Lent—candy, meat, or other pleasures—only to gleefully indulge in the forbidden item when the season passed. While going without something we enjoy gives us a taste of sacrifice, it often does not bring about a substantial inner change.

Whatever your religious persuasion, our intent with this Carbon Fast is to suggest practices that will go beyond merely “giving up” some conveniences temporarily, but will support a deeper transformation in your relationship with Earth.

Why carbon?

Because carbon dioxide (CO2) is a heat-trapping gas and key driver of global warming, reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions is a matter of great urgency.
Those who are being affected most severely by climate change— including millions of people in the developing world who have already lost their homes and livelihoods— are those whose own carbon footprints are the smallest, and who have the fewest resources to cope with the fallout. Reducing our carbon emissions is as much a matter of caring for Creation as it is of protecting the least of these.

*In an effort to keep the calendar fresh, we’ve broadened the types of suggested activities to include water protection and conservation. While some of these are not technically carbon-reducing, we feel they keep the spirit of the fast.

How to use this calendar

This calendar suggests one sustainability-related activity for each day between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Some of these might be things you’re already doing. Some require a little preparation. Some may be challenging or even uncomfortable.
If doing one activity each day seems overwhelming, you might instead choose one activity each week and repeat it each day. Or choose one action and do it for the whole season.

Since Christians are called to dwell in community—to share in one another’s burdens and joys, and to work together as members of one body— we encourage you to see if members of your congregation or family want to participate in the Carbon Fast with you.
As we take steps to do our part— changing the ways we drive our cars, heat and cool our buildings, consume food and other goods—we also recognize that personal lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient. Therefore, we hope this fast helps you be a witness for the cry of the Earth and promote systemic change— as a member of your community and as a citizen.

In this time of repentance and rebirth, we hope above all that this calendar will be a tool for spurring action and reflection, helping us right our relationship with the Earth, in this season and beyond.

Download the calendar here.