JEFFERSON CITY - Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church hosted a blessing of its Ramsey Garden Sunday afternoon. 

The church is launching a garden to help fight food insecurity. The long-range vision includes using larger sections of the property to make space for an even bigger garden.

The vision also includes opening the garden to people in the community and partnering with youth groups and organizations to teach gardening, provide entrepreneurial opportunities and more.

"We know that the areas some of the neighborhoods around here either have people with lower income, lack of access to transportation, and that the nearest grocery store could be more than a mile away. And so, when we looked at those maps, we saw that we could serve people right here in the community. And, it's a great way for the church to be a part of the community and a part of the neighborhood," Lori Simms, member of the board of trustees at Quinn Chapel, said.

The garden is named after one of first families to attend the church following its establishment in the 1850s - Elijah and Violet Ramsey.  

The Ramseys were born enslaved and eventually purchased their freedom and their family's freedom. Their son, also named Elijah, purchased the church’s first property, and deeded it to William Paul Quinn, a monumental figure in A.M.E history. 

"And so over 150 some odd years, we've been pouring back out into the community helping the least of these, helping the marginalized, and those that often get overlooked, in whatever way that we can," Rev. Anthony McPherson said.  

The garden includes fresh produce such as lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, beans, squash peppers, onion plants, purple kale, tomatoes, collard greens and strawberry plants.  

For the first season of the garden, the church plans to make products and give them to others at no cost, though they will ask for donations from those who are able to in order to further the effort.