Garden promotes community and sufficiency

Dalton Christopher
Herald Staff
dchristopher@harrodsburgherald.com

Organizers of the community garden include, left to right, Jessica Bessin, Bobbie Hancock, Jack Coleman and Becky Stratton. (The Harrodsburg Herald/Dalton Christopher)

There is nothing that can bring a community together quite like growth. Whether it be new industry, business, or progress in sports and life, there is something about seeing something grow that causes inspiration. For further proof, look no further than the backyard at the Mercer County Senior Citizen Center.

The Bluegrass Community Action Group, Mercer County Extension Office, Anderson Dean Community Park and Stratton Lumber Company have partnered together to offer a garden for use by anyone in the community.

The project started in May and has been a hit with Mercer County residents.

“It just took off. We have people stop and ask us what’s going on, they stop and pull weeds for us, its just been great.” said Becky Stratton of Bluegrass Community Action.

The goal of the program is to educate the community on the benefits of healthy eating while also educating people that may have no experience to raise their own crops. They also want to encourage residents to take advantage of the services and programs offered to them by groups in the community.

When someone signs up for the program they receive a box in the garden. In addition,  the extension office provides classes that educate families on the health benefits of what they are growing as well as growing a healthy plant.

“These plots have not only been a source of fresh vegetables to many in our community but also gave them opportunities to learn about gardening and options on how to save the food to use later.” said Troy Roberts who is the executive director of the Bluegrass Community Action Partnership.

Jessica Bessin, horticulture agent at the extension office, says one important thing to teach with raised beds is that square foot gardening can be done.

“You can put multiple crops in and have different things ripen throughout the season.” Bessin said.

Each month Bessin and Bobbie Hancock offer courses to teach people about what they are growing. Last month it was tomatoes and this month its all about sweet corn. They talk about soil requirements, harvesting, health benefits of the crop and much more.

To learn more, check out this week’s issue of The Harrodsburg Herald.

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