These are some of the faithful garden volunteers. This includes John Paul's siblings, the John Paul Endicott Summer Intern, the Horticulture Staff instructor, a high school volunteer doing her senior project, friends of John Paul's and his mother.

These are some of the faithful garden volunteers. This includes John Paul’s siblings, the John Paul Endicott Summer Intern, the Horticulture Staff instructor, a high school volunteer doing her senior project, friends of John Paul’s and his mother.

by Len Lear

The fourth annual Garlic in the Garden Festival & Cookoff will be held Sunday, Sept. 21, 3 to 6 p.m., at the Temple Ambler Crops Garden, 580 Meetinghouse Rd., Ambler. It is open to the public and family-friendly, and all donations will benefit local food cupboards. There will be a garlic cookoff competition, a gift basket raffle, a 50-50 cash raffle, games for kids, a cooking cultivation and medicinal garden, and much more.

Judy Endicott, of Dresher, told us last week, “The fourth annual Garlic in the Garden Festival and fundraiser is a family-oriented celebration in memory of my son, John Paul Endicott. He was a student in the Temple U. Landscape Architecture and Horticulture program when he was killed in a car accident.

“Since 2010, we have continued his plan to make more fresh, nutritious produce available to community members in need. Each spring, Temple University Food Crop students plant the seeds and design the garden plots as part of their course requirements. Then our volunteers, under the leadership of the John Paul Endicott Summer Intern, continue to tend to the garden crops all summer and into the fall.

“All crops harvested go to local food banks and pantries. We donate to Seeds of Hope Food Cupboard at Chelten Baptist Church in Dresher, Mattie Dixon Community Pantry in Ambler and Manna on Main in Lansdale. In the last three years we have donated over 1,700 pounds of freshly harvested, organic produce.”

John Paul Endicott, who was 31 years old and an Elkins Park resident at the time, was killed on July 7, 2010, when a motor scooter he was riding was hit by an SUV in Philadelphia. John was survived by his wife, Shannon Ryan; his then-15-month-old son, River Ryan-Endicott; his parents, Jack and Judy Endicott; and his siblings, Daniel and Katie.

Throughout his life, Endicott was known for making enduring connections with people wherever he went. Originally from Dresher, Endicott was a ’96 Upper Dublin High School graduate, and he received a degree in communication from Penn State in 2000.

According to an article in Montgomery Newspapers in September of 2010, “During his time in college, he spent a semester at sea, embarking on one of his many trips around the world. He returned to the semester at sea program in spring 2007, this time as an employee, operating all of the ship’s video equipment, and it was on this trip he met Archbishop Desmond Tutu, of South Africa.

“He had traveled to more than 30 countries is his lifetime,’ said John Briley, who was a close friend of Endicott’s since childhood. After graduating from college, Endicott’s passion for travel never waned. In 2003, he spent six months teaching English in the Czech Republic, and he also worked on a co-op farm in Amsterdam.

“He traveled the world twice and saw a lot of the poverty that existed,’ his brother, Daniel, said. ‘He came home and wanted to change the ways certain things were done here, such as local produce and compost. He always had the bigger picture in mind, even if it was a small thing.’

“He just really changed his lifestyle after seeing the world and seeing all the differences and disparities between people around the world,” his sister, Katie, said. “He was a very idealistic person, and he always had very strong convictions. He wasn’t just someone to speak about those things; he was someone to make changes in his life.”

“During the final years of his life, Endicott’s biggest passion became horticulture and ensuring locally grown produce made its way to the tables of the needy. In fall 2008, he enrolled at Temple Ambler to pursue a master’s degree in horticulture. There, Endicott noticed many others growing crops at the school’s gardens would often let the produce go to waste.”

As a result, he created a garden where everything produced specifically went to food pantries. What Endicott began, his family has continued on in his memory.

The Memorial to John Paul Endicott Food Crops Garden at Temple University Ambler is an education and volunteer-based community vegetable garden. The organic crops that are grown and harvested are donated to local food cupboards, providing greater access and understanding of nutritious and organic produce.

Located within the research gardens of Temple Ambler, the Food Crops Garden at Temple University Ambler is bolstered and supported by Temple Ambler’s faculty, staff, interns, and students. Produce is harvested, weighed, and donated weekly to local food cupboards and organizations.

Admission to the festival this Sunday is $5 with perishable/nonperishable donation, $10 without donation, and free with a cook-off entry. For more information, email or go on Facebook and enter John Paul Endicott Garden.