Meet college student and gardener extraordinaire, Natalie Sturm! Natalie hails from Grayslake, Illinois and will begin her sophomore year at MSU in the fall where she is pursuing a degree in Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems (Agroecology concentration). She is an active member of Lutheran Campus Ministry and a student representative on the LCM Board. This summer she is serving as a research assistant at MSU and looking to get her hands dirty in her spare time by gardening. Natalie took the initiative to develop a plan for Hope Lutheran’s garden, offering her time and talents to steward it. She’ll be donating all of the food that is harvested to seniors without gardens and the Gallatin Food Bank.
I recently connected with Natalie to ask her a few questions and help us all get to know her better!
How long have you been gardening?:
I have been gardening since I can remember, probably since I was 4 years old.
What is it you enjoy about gardening?:
I love so many things about gardening. I love nature and spending time outdoors, and gardening is a great way to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, bugs, and dirt. There is something about gardening that makes me feel very connected to nature; through tending to plants as they grow, watching the weather, getting my hands in the soil.
One of the best parts about gardening is the fresh, healthy, tasty food I get to grow. Garden fresh vegetables taste so wonderful, and I love taking whatever is in season from the garden and cooking it up in the kitchen. Growing food that tastes so good and is so good for our health is one of my favorite things about gardening.
I also love the connections I can make through gardening. I think gardening is a great way to bring people together – whether it’s doing hard work in the garden with others, or sharing the harvest from the garden.
Does gardening connect you to your faith? If so, how?:
Gardening and farming definitely connect me to my faith. I think God is in a way calling me to farm and garden. A big aspect of my faith is this idea of stewardship. I believe God has put me here to steward His creation; to take care of it and heal it, and to use it to feed people.
Spending time gardening and farming also helps me to see God every day. I get to see Him in sunsets and rainstorms and the first green leaves poking out of the soil. Growing food certainly feels miraculous sometimes – every growing season I am still in awe about how a little, dry seed can grow into a big, green plant that produces fresh food for people.
Thanks, Natalie, for all of your hard work caring for the garden at Hope Lutheran and for taking time to share about your passion for being a steward of God’s creation.