An industrial area off W. 5th Ave. seems an unlikely place for a community garden, yet tucked away there lies the East 8th Ave. Faith Mission homeless shelter. Within view of the Rumpke Recycle Center, colorful plastic wading pools dot a small plot of land behind the shelter. Vegetables spring from the soil filled pools – an unexpected use of objects designed for childhood summer fun.
Operated by Lutheran Social Services, the shelter’s garden is overseen by Dr. Job Ebenezer, along with help from church volunteers. The vegetables are planted in pools containing store bought soil, explains Dr. Ebenezer, because of possible ground contamination from nearby industry.
Working to help feed the homeless is just one of Dr. Ebenezer’s gardening projects. He also maintains a community garden at his local church on Morse Road. Through the Helping Hands Clinic, the church offers free vegetables to parishioners in need and then sells any remaining produce to raise money for Ebenezer’s organization, Technology for the Poor.
Based on the philosophy of George Washington Carver, an African American scientist who taught sustainable agriculture to poor farmers, Ebenezer continues to address the needs of the under served through Technology for the Poor.
One of his inventions converts a standard bicycle into a device that can shell corn and peanuts, thresh rice, cut wood and pump water. Visit YouTube to see Pedal Power at work.
For more info on Dr. Ebenezer’s work, visit Technology for the Poor.