The idea of starting a temple garden generated a lot of excitement amongst Vidya Vikas members. Everyone who heard about the gardening project, loved it from the get-go. While many had seen community gardening projects, no one had direct experience in building it. Within a couple of days of approval of the idea, a group of volunteers came together to carry out this project. The group had less than 6 weeks to cultivate plants before the start of winter. Every Saturday, an enthusiastic group of volunteers came to finish different steps of the project.
Sanjeev Sirotiya took the lead in making the temple garden happen – from creating the garden layout, to buying materials and building the beds. Rajeev Sarda and Vikas Dusad provided help in choosing materials, construction and training the volunteers. Vimukta Talwar provided guidance in planting the vegetables. Sunita Verma-Kurvari pooled in Youth Group volunteers and coordinated various aspects of the project. Rajneesh Gupta and Vandana Sirotiya provided significant contribution in planning, execution and support as needed. In all, over 20 members of the Youth Group and 15 adult volunteers built 6 raised plant beds. Several varieties of winter vegetables were successfully planted by October 16.
The long term vision of the temple garden is to donate produce to a local charity. Future plans include planting fruit trees and making 12-16 additional beds for vegetables and flowers. In addition, on an ongoing basis, this project will provide volunteering opportunities for the youth and adults, and will expose them to long-term planning, construction and gardening.
Within the DFW area, the temple garden is the first of its kind for an Indian religious organization. We hope it will serve as a role model for other organizations to start such projects.