Angels’ Organic Community Garden

Angels’ Organic Community Garden


A story about a community that thinks outside the box, but is still deep in tradition.


The Parable of the Talents is read year after year, telling the story of a Master who gave talents to three different men. The first man invested the talent. The second man saved the talent. And the third man hid his talent. The Master praises and blesses the men who used their talents and allowed them to grow.

There is a garden in Traverse City, MI that reminds me of the Parable of the Talents. Their 5-acre property in the Cherry Capitol overlooks East Grand Traverse Bay, and stands as a testimony of God’s love manifested in its natural beauty.

I recently spoke with Fr. Ciprian Streza, the parish priest of Archangel Gabriel Greek Orthodox Church in traversecityvisit7-31-16-45-mTraverse City, the only Orthodox church north of Grand Rapids and Saginaw along US31.

The community was established 15 years ago, and Fr. Ciprian has been there for the past 5.

I asked him what inspired the community garden. He said they are hoping to build an Orthodox Parish and Community on their new location but they didn’t start by building a community hall, or a church. They wanted to start with an organic community garden.

Their goal was to make an immediate impact on their local community.

So, in the spring of 2012, they built what would become a landmark for the Traverse City area: ANGELS ORGANIC COMMUNITY GARDEN.

angels-organic-garden-2The Garden contains an outdoor chapel, 24 (25’ by 4’) beds and a stunning view. Volunteers in the Traverse City are the gardeners and they are committed to the responsibilities of an organic garden. They also care for 30 beehives which Fr. Ciprian refers to as the “sweetness of the faith.”

The best part is that the “fruits” of their labor are donated to three local non-prophet charities: Father Fred, ACTS (Acme Christian Thrift Store) and Goodwill Inn.

For more information on their community garden, CLICK HERE.

Photographer: Simeon Richards


Simeon Richards is the oldest of four brothers and a senior at Beaver Island Community School. While he finds himself most interested in robotics and engineering and does not consider himself an artist, he must have a good eye. His high school art teacher praises his perspective, and we’ve all really enjoyed his photographs of Metropolitan Nicholas’ visit to Traverse City this summer.


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About author

Presvytera Vassi Haros

Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.