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Church spreads culture, supports garden

World-renowned violinist Simon Hu plays the violin at

World-renowned violinist Simon Hu plays the violin at at the Feeding Body, Mind and Spirit: A Sense-Enticing Event fundraiser at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in North Bellmore. (April 21, 2012) (Credit: Ursula Moore)

Mark Christianson loves classical ballet. He is a fan of George Balanchine.

Christianson also enjoys a glass of organic wine every once in awhile. Merlot is his favorite.

And that’s why the 51-year-old Mineola man jumped at the chance to attend the inaugural Feeding Body, Mind and Spirit: A Sense-Enticing Event fundraiser to benefit an organic garden at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in North Bellmore on Saturday. The event raised $4,000, according to organizers.

The evening featured a concert from world-renowned violinist Simon Hu performing classical music from Beethoven and Pablo de Sarasate, and a chocolate and wine pairing with chocolate sommelier Roxanne Browning.

The garden is part of a community outreach program that originated from Bellmore resident Susan Salem, the Garden at St. Mark’s co-chair, who wanted to serve the community in a healthy way. A grant from the Episcopal Charities helped to start the project in April 2011.

The fresh organic produce, which includes tomatoes, okra, squash, lettuce, beets, eggplants and kale, is donated to the Long Island Council of Churches Emergency Food Center in Freeport.

“Most food pantries are loaded with canned and processed foods. I wanted to offer a healthy choice,” said Salem.

The 5,000-square-foot garden has also become a haven for locals to unwind. “People go the garden and just relax. It’s like a mini-vacation,” said Salem.

Garden at St. Mark’s Co-Chair Ann McPartlin, of Freeport, is elated with the tremendous contributions the garden has brought to the community: “Last year, we donated 1,200 pounds of fresh organic produce to the food pantry in Freeport.”

For more information on the garden or to make a donation, call the church at 516-679-1184.

Tags: North Bellmore , St. Mark the Evangelist Church , organic , garden , fundraiser , linowtweet

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