Francisco Machado says that Harrisonburg Mennonite Church’s garden has given him a way of living out his love for both the Church and the earth.

A native Honduran who immigrated to the US in 2008, Francisco has been a member of the Mennonite Church since his university years. He was originally drawn to the denomination, he says, because of its emphasis on peace and justice. The Church’s stance on warfare and nonviolence made it uniquely relevant to the violence and unrest that was so familiar to Central America at the time. After university, he worked for Mennonite Social Action Commission agencies in Honduras for several years, finding a life as a pastor, agricultural engineer, and environmental advocate.

Although not a member of Harrisonburg Mennonite Church (HMC), Francisco has found their garden to be a way to connect with the greater Mennonite community and make new friends in the area. He was originally invited to the garden by HMC Pastor Mark Keller. For Francisco, gardening is both a means to provide fresh food for his family and a way of reminding our technology-driven culture of where our food actually comes from.¬†Between tomatoes, onions, broccoli, squash, eggplant, and many other vegetables, Francisco hopes to be able to store away enough food to last his family until next year’s planting season.