Story and photography by Nikki Gardner
On a warm summer evening, I gathered alongside the folks at Common Ground for a family-style farm-to-table church dinner held at Valley Malt Farm. The farm was filled with good food and hearty laughter. Kids ran around chasing balloons and sliding down a zip line tied between trees. Others toured the garden and chicken coop in back while the rest of us dressed salads, made pesto, and topped pizza crusts from Hillside with tomatoes and basil grown from their backyard beds or communal garden plot at Grow Food Northampton. Local beer made with the hops right off the farm was served alongside gingered teas and water. By the time the tables were set and the pizzas came steaming hot out of the wood-fired cob oven, Reverend Sarah Buteux and the 30 or so folks in attendance broke bread, sang, and spoke of nature and sacred meals before they sat down at the communal tables and blankets to enjoy the feast and setting sun.
About Common Ground
Common Ground is a family-style, farm-to-table dinner church that meets the first and third Thursday of each month at First Churches. At Common Ground we cook and eat dinner together from food we’ve grown or sourced locally. Our worship centers around the growing, preparing, cooking, and sharing of a sacred meal. Over and around dinner we sing, play, share, pray, hear the Word, and take the time to respond. Visit Common Ground’s website for details about upcoming dinners at http://firstchurches.org/common-ground/.