In Search Of…Holy Gardener 4/13/06


Don Iliff is probably best known in La Crosse for his ‘day’ job as the pastor at Wesley United Methodist
Church. “These are the words we find in Psalm 22.”

But when he’s not at the house of God, he heads to a house of a very different kind. For as long as he can
remember, Pastor Don has spent his spare time growing things. “I grew up gardening. My mother had a large garden and
every place we have gone, we’ve had a garden.”

But what makes ‘this’ gardener so unique is what he does with the seeds he sews. “It happened a few years ago when
the community garden first started and I realized that I had this greenhouse but was only filling half of it, and I
thought what a blessing this is for me, I wonder what they’re doing for plants. So I called them up and said you get
me the seed, I’ll get you the plants.”

If you’re not familiar with the Community Garden, it’s a project that provides fresh vegetables to people in
need. “It’s a wonderful project. And there are lots of ways people can get involved in the community garden. They
can plant, weed, harvest. Everybody can have a part, my part is the early stage.”

So while most of us wait for the growing season to begin, Pastor Don’s roots are already well on their way. This
year, he’s growing more than 3000 plants for the community garden, but this is definetly a labor of love. “I have to
come out a couple of times a day to check. I consider it my therapy. It’s really pretty satisfying.”

This man of God is becoming a perennial favorite by teaching all of us a lesson with this growing

We went in search of a man planting good seeds in the community. “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have
gardening.” We found him.

As pastor Don mentioned, there’s lots of ways you can help the community garden and they always need volunteers. If
you’re interested in helping out, you can call the hunger task force at 793-1002.