CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — If you’re traveling along Hull Street near the Hicks Road intersection, you may catch a glimpse of something that seems out of place in the Chesterfield suburbs: a 10-acre farm full of fruits and vegetables.
It’s located on the campus of Mount Gilead Full Gospel International Ministries, and every week, dozens of volunteers gather to pack up fresh, organic produce to donate to local food banks.
The church says it now regularly produces more than 1,000 pounds of produce — all of it going to help fight food insecurities at the Chesterfield Food Bank and Petersburg Hope Center’s food pantry.
“The idea was to start with a small garden with just a few vegetables that we could donate to the Chesterfield Food Bank as a ministry,” said Amie Carter, Mt. Gilead’s executive media director. “Now, we have teams of volunteers collecting our harvest and filling our delivery trucks every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning. It has become something supernatural.”
The farm was the brainchild of Mt. Gilead parishioner “Captain” William Dugger, Sr, and in just over a year, has grown to more than 10 fields with 15 varieties of fruits and vegetables.
“My purpose in life is to grow vegetables and give back to the community,” said Dugger. “I feel a supernatural feeling being out here.”
Dugger has dedicated the majority of his time to maintaining the farm. Both he and Carter say the success of the farm speaks to the ministry at the church.
“Our Bishop and Co-pastor, Daniel Robertson and Elena Robertson, constantly pour into us the importance of being blessed to be a blessing,” said Carter.
While 1,000 pounds per week is impressive, the church says it has bigger plans for the future including more fields for produce poultry and eggs, and greenhouse improvements to keep up year-round production for community it serves.