Erin Tuttle Lockridge
Since the first time her mom gave her a flat of red salvia to plant in her very own garden (hidden behind the air conditioning unit), Erin Tuttle Lockridge has been captivated by the act of coaxing beauty and life from unlikely patches of dirt. After completing a graduate degree in Christian Studies at Regent College in 2005, she began planting vegetable gardens in the soils of her midwestern home, discovering a resounding intersection between her theological education and her abiding love for the natural world. The work of tending soil and crop, of gathering the harvest and preparing it for the table began to give Erin words for what she already knew in her bones: that God, who became man and dwelt on this earth, loves his creation (including every plant, animal, and forgotten patch of soil), and her work in the garden was a veneration, an act of hope, a prayer.
Erin has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Hope College and is a Certified Naturalist. She spent several years working at a watershed protection non-profit in northeastern Illinois, and now runs a children’s gardening program here in Norwood. Six years ago, she returned to Regent College for a summer course. Not only was she profoundly shaped by the the content of the class, she was introduced to a handsome parish farmer who became her husband a year and a half later. Erin is part of the Orthodox Christian Church, and loves its tangible, sensual, symbolic worship, its rich theology, and its robust affirmation of the created world.
You might say it was in the soil from the start, but when Robert moved to Vancouver, B.C. to study theology at Regent College, he had no idea that he would leave five years later…a parish farmer. While living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Robert became overwhelmed by the desperation of the neighborhood and by the turmoil it churned up within him. One March afternoon, he began to pray by pushing seeds into the cold soil. One row of kale, then a patch of carrots, a summer spent transforming the concrete slab behind his apartment into a patchwork of makeshift planters. An unexpected conversion had begun in Robert. Day after day, garden after garden, he came to know the hope and presence of God by pouring himself into the prayerful work of tending land, growing food, and coming to love and be loved by his neighbors. Now ten years later, Robert continues this work of parish farming in Norwood, OH.
Robert has a B.A. in History from the College of William and Mary, as well as a Masters of Christian Studies from Regent College. He has worked previously as a hospital chaplain and as a group leader at a wilderness school for struggling youth.
Currently, he and Erin tend several gardens throughout the neighborhood, growing food for their table, for the children’s gardening program, and for Moriah Pie — a Friday night pizza parlor that extends the hospitality of God to the community by serving neighborhood-grown, homemade pizza, salad, and pie on a pay-as-you-can model.