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Vegetable Gardening with the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild

Founded by Franciscan friars in 1899, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America is one of Washington's hidden gems, with a stunning Byzantine-style church; replicas of Holy Land shrines, Lourdes Grotto and catacombs; cloister walk; and beautiful gardens with more than 1,000 roses and other plants, flowers and herbs located on 42 acres.

One of their community projects is the work being done by the Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild (FMGG), an all-volunteer 501(c) 3 non-profit. This project led by Louis P. Maroulis is growing and donating literally tons of vegetables to those in need in the District of Columbia. The Garden Guild are the stewards for the greenhouse and urban farm located at 1400 Quincy Street, NE - within a 10 minute walk of Brookland/CUA Metro Stop - Redline.

Since 2014, FMGG has harvested and donated over 13k lbs. (6.5 tons) of vegetable produce to various civic and religious organizations in the metro DC area such as the DC Central Kitchen, Martha's Table, Capital Area Food Bank, SOME, Joseph's House - Adams Morgan, and Iona Senior Services Center – Tenleytown.

In addition, FMGG is collaborating with the Casey Tree Foundation for replanting the Monastery's orchard with various fruit trees and the DC Beekeeper's Alliance to rebuild the Monastery's apiary of 20 beehives. FMGG also provides workshops for natural soap making, jam/preserves, herb salts, herb propagation and educational tours to elementary school students. FMGG received 17 ribbons in August 2016 from the Howard County, Montgomery County and Maryland State Fairs for home-made natural soaps and vegetables grown on their urban farm.

You can volunteer at the farm as an individual or as part of a corporate or university group. Volunteer groups have included: Viacom/BET, Corporation for National & Community Service, Catholic University of America, American University, and Trinity Washington University.

In order to continue the amazing work they do the group is now raising money to rebuild and expand operations in their 100 year old greenhouse. This would allow them to cultivate organically and harvest vegetables year-round. To learn a little more about the greenhouse click on this video.

The estimated cost of the greenhouse project is nearly $650,000. If you are interested in donating to this very worthwhile project or would like a tour of the existing greenhouse and to learn more about the work, contact Garden Guild.

A tax deductible donation can be charged or checks mailed to FMGG, P.O. Box 29059 Washington, DC 20017. Make sure you put "Greenhouse Renovation" in the check's subject line. Helping those in need get healthy meals is one of the best gifts we can give to a community. Rebuilding this greenhouse will multiply your gift and make it last for years to come.