Steve Taylor, "Inhabiting Our Neighbourhoods: Plot by Plot, Plant by Plant"

Conference paper presented at Urban Life Together: Inhabiting Our Neighbourhoods, October 17-18, 2014, Urban Seed. Published online November 12, 2015.



Gardens offer rich insight regarding how we might inhabit our neighbourhood. This paper considers gardens in Scripture, start, middle and end. It researches the development patterns of two inner-city Australian community gardens. The story of each is brought into dialogue with Scripture, including Luke 10:1–12 and 1 Cor 3:6–9. The insights from this dialogue between Scripture and two urban garden case studies is then enriched by consideration of two movies. Gardening with Soul is a documentary about an urban missionary who turned the lawn of her religious community into a community garden. Grow your Own is the story of a stranger’s gift that grows healing among a well-established British allotment garden. Both point to the power and potential of a seasonal spirituality. Throughout this paper, beginning and end, is also woven experience—mine—into the place and potential of gardens in mission and ministry. The argument from Scripture, case study, film and experience is that gardens invite us and our neighbours to become good, plot by plot and plant by plant.


In this small thing is all of creation! God made it, God cares for it, God loves it.[1]

A First Plot

Early in life, I came to value gardens, gardeners and gardening. I grew my first garden, aged ten. Carefully I planted. Correctly I weeded, watered, then wept, as the hooves of wandering cows casually ground my first crop of corn into the earth. Leaving school, I trained in horticulture and became an orchardist. I found identity in the connections between soil and seasons. I learned resilience as I contract pruned through icy winter frosts. I gained satisfaction, seeing the work of my hands yield fruit in autumn time. Then one summer, picking apricots, I heard God’s call to mission. Youthfully impulsive, I naively assumed that a call to mission and ministry meant leaving the gardens behind. God had other ideas.

This paper explores the place and potential of gardens for urban life today. Using a range of resources, including my experience, Scripture, film and community case studies, it uncovers the dimensions through which gardens and gardening enable us to inhabit our neighbourhoods.

My argument, while original in drawing from contemporary Australian case studies, has deep roots. From across the ditch, Ann Gilroy has argued that the spirituality of gardening is essential to New Zealand identity.[2] In Australia, Yvonne McRostie has described how a community garden helped Coorparoo Uniting Church imagine church in different ways.[3] It made discipleship “time consuming” and generated “cross-pollination” across the fences that enclose suburban life.[4] In the United States, Hands-On Pastoral Education using Clergy Sustaining Agriculture (HOPE CSA), transport clergy from mega-churches to a farm for monthly reflection on sustainable farming and healthy churches.[5] In each of these writings, the argument is made, that plot by plot and plant by plant, gardens change neighbourhoods.

While some gardens are planted in straight lines, structured in orderly, linear lines, what follows is more organic in design. It is a written expression of the philosophy of companion planting. I earth this paper by offering research into two contemporary inner-city Australian community gardens, both seeking to cultivate community in the shade of high-rise apartments. These local stories are nourished by two additional, but very different, sources of compost: gardens in Scripture and gardens in contemporary film (Grow your Own and Gardening with Soul). The companion planting is completed by a set of garden stories. Shaped by my experiences, they suggest a set of practices, patterns and postures by which urban life together might develop. Before we enter the first of our inner-city Australian gardens, we pause to listen to Scripture. In the Bible we find gardens taking centre stage: start, middle and end.

God Plots: From Genesis to Revelation

The Christian story begins in a garden. The first chapters of Genesis offer two creation accounts, one of which describes God as the Gardener and humans created to dwell in neighbourhoods both visually pleasing and practically sustaining (Gen 2:4b–25). In Gen 2, the Adam is a co-creator in God’s garden. The Hebrew verb in Gen 2:15, historically so poorly translated as “dominion,” is better understood as a call to care. We are partners (gardeners) with God, creating environments of visual pleasure and practical nurture.

The Christian story re-begins in a garden. Jesus appears to Mary, who thinks him a gardener (John 20:15–18). Jesus, called the new Adam (1 Cor 15:45; Rom 5:12–18), has been re-planted in a new Eden. His conversational responses to Mary act as a redemption of the avoidance of God by humans in that first garden in Genesis (Gen 3:8–9). It is part of his divine “work” to restore the call to “take care” of all creation, including the “bruised reed” after the resurrection (Gen 2:15; Isa 42:3; Matt 12:20). It is a salvation that is redeeming of people, place and plot.

This resurrection in a garden is continuation and culmination of the “garden” teaching of Jesus. In the Sermon on the Mount, disciples are expected to learn not only from the words of Jesus, but also from the birds of the air and flowers of the field (Matt 6:26–30). Jesus describes the kingdom of God in terms of seed sowing, weeds and mustard trees (Matt 13). With allusions to Gen 2, in these metaphors humanity continues to be called, tasked to prosper and reproduce. In John 15, Jesus is the vine and God is a gardener. An activity of the kingdom of God is thus the careful pruning for the enhancing of productivity. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus makes a choice toward God that will reverse the choices made by Adam and Eve in the first garden. Gardens thus function as sacred spaces in which we make choices, as to how we watch, pray and live our lives.

The Christian story ends, as it begins, in a garden. Significantly for this paper, this garden of healing is an urban garden, located at the centre of the New Jerusalem. With trees for “healing of the nations … No longer will there be any curse” (Rev 22:1–3).

In summary, gardens are a recurring theme in biblical literature. God’s Plot unfolds in multiple God plots. From beginning to end, we encounter a vision in which it is in gardens that humans inhabit the neighbourhood.

Pavement Practices in Downtown Adelaide

Twenty square metres. That is the size of the demonstration plot at Heronswood. Located just outside of Melbourne, it is grown as “an inspiration to all budding backyard gardeners. It shows how to successfully grow a years supply of vegetables for 2 people in just 20m2 using Diggers seeds.”[6] Heronswood is one of four Victorian gardens listed in The Oxford Companion to the Garden.[7] Home of heirloom seed supplier, the Diggers Club, they even offer a seed pack (it used to sell for $45) containing all the seeds a family of two would need to feed themselves from their twenty square metres.

It is tempting to relegate the inhabiting ministry of gardens to the lifestyle blocks that surround Heronswood. Yet on a main city street in Adelaide, and a rooftop in Kings Cross in Sydney, two churches remind us that gardens are important ways by which to inhabit any neighbourhood, urban or suburban. Both offer important insights into inhabiting our neighbourhoods.

In 2012, Uniting Church minister Rev. Sandy Boyce, herself a keen gardener, secured a local city council grant. Minister in placement at Pilgrim Uniting, an inner-city church on the edge of Victoria Square in central Adelaide, the grant was given for the development of an urban community garden. For Sandy, it was an expression of partnership, of the church cultivating connections with local (Council) bodies, in order to engage local bodies.[8]

On the concrete pavement outside Pilgrim Uniting, Sandy and a team from the church placed three metal raised beds and prepared to plant. The cynics said the plants would die in Adelaide summer heat. Any produce that grew would be stolen, while the garden would surely be trashed by drunken revellers in the late of night. Sandy begged to differ. She wanted to plant partnerships, to welcome weekday lounge visitors, office workers and members of Pilgrim, to share and enjoy the green space and the produce. Today the garden remains alive and vibrant. It enriches Pilgrim Uniting’s drop-in ministry, offering another way to cultivate community. Produce harvested is utilised in healthy cooking classes.

Sitting in the sun, watching the community swirl around the inner-city community garden planted by Pilgrim Uniting, my thoughts drifted to the church in Corinth.[9] To an urban church, located at commercial crossroads among a pluralistic and diverse set of faiths and cultures, Paul described his ministry using the image of gardening. Paul plants, Apollos waters, God causes growth (1 Cor 3:6–9).

We live in cultures that like to locate leadership in one person. Leader talk tends to be sheeted to the one techni-preneur, the one CEO, the one Prime Minister, the one Senior Pastor. In contrast, when Paul described his leadership as being like that of a gardener in 1 Cor 3, we are being invited to diversify. Paul is asking the Corinthian church to stop looking for leadership from one person. Both Paul and Apollos are gardeners and the ministry of both is valued. Equally, both are unique and their diversity is celebrated. In Corinthians, we are being asked to stop looking for one way of exerting leadership. Instead, we are to celebrate the diverse ways in which diverse individuals contribute to God’s garden.

As I pondered 1 Cor 3, I reflected on what I was observing in this inner-city Adelaide garden. The people gathered included a group of indigenous folk, an office worker sipping her takeaway coffee and a church volunteer quietly making connections. This garden, just like in Corinth, was indeed connecting diverse individuals, each of whom could contribute in diverse ways.

Such are the understandings of inhabiting the neighbourhood that are generated when Pilgrim’s urban garden is read in dialogue with 1 Cor 3:6–9. “You are God’s garden,” is a call to inhabit the neighbourhood in ways that celebrate diversity.[10] Gardeners not only plant and water. They also provide support and create wind breaks. Fred Bahnson, in Soil and Sacrament, observed that,

Coffee shops are touted as our cultural commons, but very few people in coffee shops actually interact with strangers; everyone just stares at their screen. A communal food garden is really one of the few places in our society where you can go and meet someone outside your ethnic or class boundary.[11]

Gardens allow us to inhabit our neighbourhoods in ways that connect the diversity of our community.

Companion Planting in Central Sydney

In 2011, Wayside Chapel, located in the heart of Kings Cross, planted their community garden. Situated on a roof top with views over the skyscrapers of central Sydney, it provided a great view, but difficult growing conditions. Yet today, two hundred square metres is filled with over fifty different varieties of organic fruit, herbs and vegetables.

[T]he garden features the latest in sustainable design and architecture. It has two rainwater tanks, solar panels, two worm farms, a compost system and a bee-hive. Growing organic produce is only a small part of the reason for gardening at Wayside. The wider purpose of the garden is to create community, teach living skills, practice sustainability, engage with our neighbours and beautify Kings Cross.[12]

Unlike Pilgrim Uniting, this garden is not located in a street space. Rather, it is a safe space, sited four stories high, “a community space where disadvantaged people and local residents can work together, sharing skills and supporting each other to nurture a vast array of plants.”[13]

The garden is an essential component in three of Wayside’s programmes, Day to Day Living, the Aboriginal Project and Wayside Youth. The garden helps these ministries connect with the whole person. Practically, they help in the teaching of life skills, including gardening, cooking and eating. Socially, they enhance connections, including with fellow gardeners in the Day to Day Living programme and with the Wayside Café on the ground floor, where the food goes to help feed the street dwellers of Kings Cross.

Psychologically, the garden ensures nurture. Participants, tender themselves, are invited to tend. Says Wayside worker Anna Partridge,

They can’t take ownership of a cooking programme. They can take ownership of a garden … I just went up there ten minutes ago. I took a picture of Adam. He is a seventy year old man who comes every Thursday. He waters plants because he sees progress. He sees hope and life. [14]

This garden is inviting both a seeing and an experiencing of redemptive compassion.

Looking from the Wayside garden across the central city skyscrapers, my thoughts turned to Luke 10:1–12.[15] In telling the story of how this four stories high, inner-city community garden developed, Anna Partridge described how at the beginning, Wayside felt they lacked gardening experience. Their decision to start the garden involved a deliberate decision to ask for help, to reach out for the knowledge they lacked.

As a consequence, local gardeners are now deeply integrated into the Wayside garden. Later in the interview with Anna Patridge, I returned to clarify if I was correctly understanding their approach to inhabiting their neighbour. “It sounds to me,” I said, “like your lack of knowledge actually became like a gift. By starting with what you did not know, it gave the community a way in, a way to get involved.” “Absolutely,” was Anna’s animated reply. “Absolutely. Start with something you do not know how to do. And as a result you open up very different relationships with your community.”[16]

Such a response offers insight into the instructions Jesus gave to the disciples in Luke 10:1–12. They were being sent to inhabit a neighbourhood, in particular the towns and villages between Samaria and Jerusalem.[17] Gardens are not directly mentioned, but are implied by the command in v.7 to eat and drink whatever you are given. These instructions are echoed in the next verse, “eat what is set before you” (Luke 10:8). There are further echoes, including one of Jer 29:5, which has the command to stay and enjoy the produce of the gardens you plant.

This understanding of community development is consistent with the instructions by Jesus to his disciples. They are to greet the neighbourhoods they might potentially inhabit with the offer of peace (Luke 10:5).  Heard in light of Old Testament understandings of shalom, this invites a holistic understanding of how we are to inhabit the neighbourhood. We are to value relationships up with God, across with neighbour, including the poor and alien, and down, toward God’s earth.[18]

Further, Jesus’ sending of the disciples included the instruction that they are to take nothing (Luke 10:4). A very practical implication of taking neither purse, bag nor sandals, is that when you enter a neighbourhood, you will need help. In essence, in Luke 10, entering a local neighbourhood involves a posture in which you will need to find what you lack. As a result, the community is being invited to practise a radical hospitality toward the arriving visitor.

Within a few verses, Jesus will be asked for his theology of neighbour (Luke 10:29). Reading Luke 10 in light of how Wayside developed their urban garden suggests a radical understanding of what it might mean for Christians to be neighbours. Wayside Chapel has inhabited their neighbourhood not from their strength, but from their weakness. For Wayside, this meant inviting local gardeners to be sharers of knowledge and providers of time. One specific example is that of

Wayside Ambassadors Indira Naidoo. Indira is a gardening expert, broadcaster and author of the best-selling book The Edible Balcony. She shares her passion for reconnecting with nature through gardening during a weekly gardening class for Day to Day Living. [19]

What if the task of inhabiting a neighbourhood is not to be a good neighbour? Rather, what if it is to act in ways that enable our community to become better neighbours themselves?[20]

Often churches seek to engage with their community out of strength-based models. They draw upon their internal expertise and resources. In contrast, by choosing to engage in an activity in which they lack knowledge, by taking “no purse or bag or sandals” in regard to their gardening expertise, Wayside have allowed Indira Naidoo and other local gardeners to demonstrate “Who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:4, 29).

In these two sections, I have considered two inner-city gardens. One is in downtown Adelaide, the other in central Sydney. One is public, the other is elevated. Each has been developed differently, creating diverse experiences of community. One welcomes and creates connections. The other welcomes and creates nurture. A rich set of insights emerge, first as Pilgrim’s garden is read alongside 1 Cor 3:6–9 and second, as Wayside’s rooftop garden is read in dialogue with Luke 10:1–12. Plot by plot, plant by plant, each have allowed the local church to inhabit their neighbourhood.

Allotments as Mission in Grow Your Own

In order to deepen this theme, it is time to move from the street to the cinema. Stanley Skreslet, in his survey of contemporary trends in mission, notes that the vocation of the missionary is increasingly being portrayed in biography, fiction and film.[21] The implication is that film—in this case, films about gardens—can help us think about the ways we inhabit our neighbourhoods, plot by plot and plant by plant.

Grow Your Own (2007) is directed by Richard Laxton. It emerged from a garden. Film maker Carl Hunter found himself working alongside a group of refugees, who had been given an allotment to garden as part of a Liverpool City Council initiative. The opening credits of Grow Your Own involve keen gardeners emerging, mole-like, from winter hibernation.[22] Eyes blinking, they make their way to their allotment garden sheds at Blacktree Road, in the north of England. However, their calm is disturbed by the arrival of several families of severely traumatised recent migrants.

Grow Your Own explores a range of complex themes, including migration, racism and mental health. It mixes moments of comic genius, including the scene in which the cranky British men test out their ring tones, with scenes of tragedy, most poignantly as the asylum seeker Kung Sang names the trauma of his migrant journey to a chain metal fence and an unfeeling security guard.

In the midst of these gritty urban realities, Grow Your Own suggests that hope and healing can emerge from the common life of a shared garden. It is Kung Sang’s homemade shark fin soup, grown from seed, that brings the community together. The vegetable might be alien to the British palate, but shared in community, it provides healing. It is this gift, from a neighbour initially perceived as a stranger, which allows this community to inhabit their neighbourhood in new ways. Such are the insights that bloom when we consider gardens and mission at the movies. Anyone can grow. Anyone can initiate healing. Trust the organic processes that will allow hospitality and vulnerability to blossom.

Turning Turf in Gardening with Soul

Moving from a northern to a southern hemisphere, Gardening with Soul (2013), directed by Jess Feast, is a documentary that follows the New Zealand Gardener of the Year through four seasons.[23] Nominated in all four documentary categories at the 2013 New Zealand Film Awards, it lovingly uncovers the inner and outer worlds inhabited by Loyola Galvin, a Catholic sister. Despite turning ninety, her life provides a revealing glimpse into how to inhabit a neighbourhood.

Gardening with Soul begins in winter, with snow gently carpeting Galvin’s garden. Through summer, spring and autumn, we follow the rhythms of the seasons: the winter gathering of seaweed for compost, the spring companion planting (essential for pest resistance and soil health) and the autumn drying of seeds for spring.

In an age of fast food and flash-in-the-pan garden shows, Gardening with Soul offers a different, more deeply dug, set of spiritual practices. First, there is the slow work by which community gardens emerge into community development. Loyola Galvin was named the New Zealand Gardener of the Year in 2008 because of her role in starting the Common Ground community garden scheme. Galvin turned the lawn at her nunnery into allotment-style gardens for neighbouring apartment dwellers. In Gardening with Soul we witness the final stages of community development, as Galvin hands over what she began to a younger generation from her surrounding neighbourhood. It is a challenge for any religious community to consider how their land, even if only twenty metres square, is actually all the resource needed in beginning to inhabit a neighbourhood.

Second, there is the formational work provided by seasons. Both Grow Your Own and Gardening with Soul are framed by seasons. They are themes easily missed when making one-offsite visits to research urban gardens in Adelaide and Sydney. Neither are seasons often read into an exploration of how gardens are portrayed in biblical narratives. Yet seasons are essential in considering what it might mean to inhabit our neighbourhoods.

Parker Palmer, in Let Your Life Speak, invites us to embrace a seasonal spirituality. As we consider the beauty of autumn, we are faced with the ever present interplay of life and death. In winter, we are offered gifts including dormancy and clarity. Spring teaches us to nurture small beginnings. Summer urges us to abandon ourselves to abundance.[24] For Palmer, such reflection is crucial in the task of influencing our work, homes and neighbourhoods: “We can and we must—if we want our sciences to be humane, our institutions to be sustaining, our healings to be deep, our lives to be true.”[25] A wise gardener discerns the seasons of their lives and their neighbourhoods. This is slow work, but essential work.

In the Cool of the Evening: Practices, Patterns and Postures

So far I have considered gardens in Scripture and described the impact of gardens on two inner-city Australian churches. Two contemporary films have broadened our insights, making us aware of the healing power inherent in the stranger’s gifts and the slow turn of the seasons. But gardens are ultimately not only about reading and watching. They are about getting our hands dirty. I need to end by returning to experience. Let me relate four experiences that, in their handling and holding of soil, offer rich insight into the practices, processes, patterns and postures by which we inhabit our neighbourhoods.

First, there is an experience of shady spiritual practices. Some nights ago we as a family ate ratatouille. The onions had been sweated over a low heat for forty-five minutes, the herbs added fresh from the garden, followed by the fruits of autumn harvest, courgette, eggplant, pepper and tomato. The eggplant had been grown from seed, planted in spring.[26] To be honest, the eggplant had struggled. Only a few germinated. Those that did grew slowly. It was a constant battle to protect them from snails. Then the eggplant was rapidly overtaken by broccoli. When we left for our summer holiday, only two plants remained, each about two centimetres high. On return, the two plants remained, still only two centimetres high. I was disappointed. One month on and there was so little evidence of growth, so few signs of progress. I reluctantly removed what was large and competing (the broccoli) and continued to water. Within a few weeks, the first flowers appeared, followed by the fruit. It hung heavy and black, a gorgeous sheen amid the garden green. Home grown, home cooked, the ratatouille offered a richer sense of deliciousness that evening.

As I tended the garden later that week, I find myself pondering over those with whom I inhabit my neighbourhood. I considered how I had needed to remove the broccoli in order to fully appreciate the eggplant. Removing broccoli was not easy. It looked large and impressive. Yet, with hindsight, it was actually harming the growth of another. I began to realise that the loss of a key person, a key leader, even if an essential part of the team, might in fact be an opportunity for another person to begin to bear fruit—differently, uniquely. I began to inspect my own life, to wonder what habits, attitudes and priorities are in fact choking the life of something else. Such are the practices by which gardens offer insight into how to inhabit a neighbourhood.

Second, there is an experience regarding the process of composting. As with most things spiritual, composting involves a paradoxical mix of great fun and hard work. In my case, it involves pulling on gumboots and a favourite old jersey, to lug around big bags of animal manure, to toss, rake and shovel straw. As I compost, I often find myself in the process of prayer. I think about those who inhabit my local neighbourhood, those who struggle, those who are not yet in faith. I reflect over the news of the week, holding before God the life situations that seem bleak and barren. I offer myself again to God as a co-creator, working to “take care,” to create neighbourhoods that are “pleasing to the eye and good for food” (Gen 2:9, 15). Such are the processes by which gardens offer insight on how to inhabit a neighbourhood.

Third, there is an experience of patterns. It is an imaginative experience. It comes out of a conversation with Christy Spier. She has a vision for “edible churches.” In her vision, she imagines a pattern in which every church in Australia is literally edible. Each is growing communities of both food and people. Imagine if edibility was the dominant pattern by which God’s people inhabited their neighbourhood?

Fourth and finally, there is an experience of posture. After a sixteen day absence, my vegetable garden recently gained some well-deserved attention. Some winter compost was spread. The early potatoes were mounded up in case of early frosts. Vegetables were harvested: peas, broccoli, silver beet, spinach, broad beans, cauliflower. Summer vegetables were planted: lettuce, beans, quick-growing cabbage, early season tomatoes. After I finished, I sat in the late afternoon sun, enjoying a beer and some peas picked straight from the garden. It struck me how none of what I was enjoying eating had come easy. There are no shortcuts. Compost takes time. Peas and broccoli need to be planted in autumn if they are to be harvested in spring. Gardening takes a few hours per week, slow and steady, in order, over the year, for the garden to take shape.

This probably says much about urban life together and how we might inhabit our neighbourhoods today. We live in an instant age and expect instant results. It is tempting to copy an urban garden from Adelaide or Kings Cross. Yet gardening with soul takes months and years. It is the invitation, plot by plot and plant by plant to inhabit our neighbourhoods in ways that will let our neighbours become neighbours, in ways both good and diverse.


[1] Ralph Milton, The Essence of Julian: A Paraphrase of Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love (Kelowna, B.C.: Northstone, 2002), Chapter 5.

[2] Ann Gilroy, “Green Fingers,” in Land and Place: He Whenua, He Wahi, Spiritualities from Aotearoa New Zealand, ed. Helen Bergin and Susan Smith (Auckland: Accent, 2004), 201–15.

[3] Yvonne McRostie, “Coorparoo Community Garden,” in Colouring Outside the Lines … Celebrating Postgraduate Work in Mission and Ministry from the Adelaide College of Divinity 2010–2014, ed. Rosemary Dewerse (Adelaide: Mediacom, 2014), 27–32.

[4] McRostie “Coorparoo Community Garden,” 30, 33.

[5] Sara Toth, “Pastors in the pasture grow organic congregations,” Science and Theology News (August 2, 2004); (accessed November 3, 2005).

[6] “Heronswood,” The Diggers Club, (accessed December 16, 2014).

[7] Patrick Taylor, The Oxford Companion to the Garden (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

[8] Sandy Boyce’s presentation at the Leadership Formation Day (Uniting College for Leadership and Theology, Adelaide, July 2013).

[9] Site visit, October 2013.

[10] The “you” in “You are God’s garden,” in 1 Cor 3:9 is a plural. A literal translation would read, “You, the community, are God’s garden.”

[11] Fred Bahnson, Soil and Sacrament (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013), 247.

[12] See “Communal Garden,” The Wayside Chapel, (accessed December 16, 2014).

[13] 29 Hughes Street, Potts Point, Sydney. For the story see “Communal Garden,” The Wayside Chapel,

[14] From notes taken during telephone interview with Anna Partridge, Wayside Chapel, October 16, 2014. Name changed to preserve anonymity. This interview built on a visit I conducted in July 2014, which included a presentation by Rev. Graham Long.

[15] Site visit, July 2014.

[16] From notes taken during a telephone interview with Anna Partridge, Wayside Chapel, October 16, 2014.

[17] This is presuming that Jesus sending the seventy-two into “the towns and places where he was about to go” with Luke 10:1 being read alongside Luke 9:51–53, in which Jesus sets out for Jerusalem by passing through a Samaritan village.

[18] This reading occurs as phrases from Luke 10:8–9, including “eat what is set before you,” “heal the sick” and “the kingdom of God has come near,” are read alongside the Deuteronomic code, including the year of Jubilee (Deut 15), building cities of refuge (Deut 19:2–3), a care for neighbour and creation (Deut 22:1–2, 6–7) and justice for the alien (Deut 24:17–18).

[19] See “Communal Garden,” The Wayside Chapel, (accessed December 16, 2014).

[20] Thanks to Dr George Wieland, Carey Baptist College, for a conversation during the Urban Life Together conference, Melbourne, October 2014, that helped clarify this insight.

[21] Stanley Skreslet, Comprehending Mission: The Questions, Methods, Themes, Problems, and Prospects of Missiology (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2012), 190.

[22] For a full film review of Grow Your Own, see Steve Taylor, “Grow Your Own,” Touchstone, August 2008.

[23] For a full film review of Gardening With Soul, see Steve Taylor, “Gardening with Soul,” Touchstone, August, 2014.

[24] Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000), 95–109.

[25] Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak, 98.

[26] Purchased from The Diggers Club, mentioned earlier in this paper.

Image: mcav0y, Flickr (Creative Commons)