Town tells Babylon church its garden to feed the hungry is fire hazard

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BABYLON -

A Babylon church that grows food to feed the needy is being told its garden is a fire hazard.

In an effort to not only feed the hearts and souls of the faithful, Episcopal Christ Church in Babylon has decided to sow its seeds in its own rectory yard to feed the hungry.

"We have this wonderful garden being installed," says Mother Clare Nesmith, who heads up the church says the garden's harvest will be used in their soup kitchen and in food pantries in the community. "Food pantries need fresh food."

But some, including neighbor Doreen Scalise, are not so thrilled with the church's innovative gardening techniques that require 2 feet of natural mulch.  

"They said they were putting in a garden, I guess it is a farm," says Scalise. "And if I ever go to sell my house no one will buy my house next to that."

The Town of Babylon says the church's garden violates town code. A town Spokesman told News 12 the mulch and supporting logs must be removed.

"While we support the admirable intentions of this project, the excessive conditions at the site have led to serious public safety and fire safety concerns," said the spokesman.

Adam Mick and Jim Adams installed the garden using a technique called permaculture, which is an alternative to suburban lawns. They tell News 12 that the town's concerns over the mulch catching fire are unfounded.

"What we have actually created here is a giant sponge," says Mick. "If you look in the landscape we have made it so it holds and captures water."

"People are not used to seeing this yet," says Adams. "We want to get people use to seeing this that we are creating paradise."

Not all neighbors are opposed to the garden. At least one told News 12 that it was "a wonderful thing for the block and the community."

Mother Clare prays the garden's good intentions will grow.

"Let's work together, and let's grow food and take care of God's creation," she says.

This Sunday the Church is blessing the Rectory garden.

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