In March 2020, Congregation Ahavas Israel and All Souls Community Church of West Michigan successfully applied for the National Wildlife Federation’s Sacred Grounds project in Grand Rapids. Sacred Grounds facilitates the development of native plant areas on the grounds of houses of worship. In July 2020, we turned the back patio area into a native pollinator garden and have been adding to it and tending it since.
The NWF grant also commits us to connect faith and environmental stewardship within the congregation and community. Tikkun olam,our responsibility to repair or heal the world, includes the need to protect God's creation during the climate emergency. In addition to the native pollinator garden, Ahavas provides food for those in need with our Corners of the Field vegetable garden, and leaves more areas unmowed. Sod grass, with its short roots and matting structure, doesn’t sequester carbon and uses energy for upkeep. Native plants help us sequester carbon, feed pollinators, and create a more sustainable and beautiful sacred space.