A Permaculture Food Forest of Love and Sweat Equity

Rev. Brent Reynolds   |   October 16, 2013

Recently, I had the opportunity to present one of our healthy-living projects at a conference on food security for HUD sponsored senior living communities.  In partnership with Our Fertile Earth, a local Jacksonville non-profit group, the Florida Christian Center is creating a “permaculture food forest” on its campus.  We are growing organic fruits and vegetables in order to provide residents with ample, healthy food that we are teaching them how to cook in nutritious ways.

Our project was birthed by a few residents and a couple of community volunteers who were passionate about locally grown, organic produce and about feeding people who either cannot afford or cannot access healthy food.  With the help of many partners, including students from local colleges, community volunteers, and our own residents, we have been able to make this dream a reality. 

Our permaculture food forest is a labor of love and sweat equity.  It takes very little capital to get it going but a lot of hard work to keep it going.  If you are interested in developing a similar project, there are a few questions to ask before you begin.  Do you have a need for organic fruits and vegetables and a passion for locally grown, sustainable “farming?”  Do you have the land?  Do you have a group of volunteers who are willing to donate 3-4 hours every few weeks?  Do you have a few people with knowledge about permaculture practices? (The Florida Christian Center community and I would be excited to assist you.)

The NBA is working with Florida Christian Center and other HUD-related residential communities on the issue of hunger and food security especially as it affects our older adult communities. If you are interested in learning more about these efforts or becoming involved, please contact David Lundeen, NBA Vice President of Mission and Ministry at or (314) 993-9000 ext. 1518.

Rev. Brent Reynolds serves as the Director and Chaplain of the Florida Christian Center, a ministry of service to the residents of Florida Christian Apartments and Sundale Manor, independent living, HUD-supported communities for senior adults in Jacksonville, Florida.

About the Florida Christian Center

The Florida Christian Center is called by God to serve older adults and persons with special needs as a living witness and response to our Christian faith. Our stated values are Love, Integrity, Compassion, Dedication, Unity, and Stewardship. In order to live out that call, we strive to improve the physical, mental, and health of the residents of the Florida Christian Apartments and Sundale Manor.

About the National Benevolent Association

The National Benevolent Association (NBA) serves as the health and social service general ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The NBA partners with local congregations, regional and general ministries, and a variety of Disciples-related health and social service providers. The NBA initiates, incubates, and connects partner ministries and organizations that provide direct care to those in need. Our shared work is about advancing the care for and with others in our communities and raising the awareness of needs that are often overlooked and forgotten. For more information about the NBA, visit