Garden grows vegetables and young farmers
The Petersburg Garden Project on Beech Street is growing into a successful program that has blossomed into a provider of fresh vegetables and a path to grow responsible young adults.
Mike Jackson, president of the Think Then Choose Wisely urban farm in Petersburg, and members of the organization’s board of directors, recently recognized six young males as the first graduating class of the organization’s Young Farmer program.
The Young Farmer program, said Jackson, is a way to have young people use agricultural tasks to teach work habits, character building skills, teamwork, healthy living and entrepreneurship.
Participants cover the basics of growing produce from seed to harvest at the organization’s Petersburg Garden Project on Beech Street.
The garden- now in its second year at its current location - is the TTCW flagship program that aims to serve the immediate community by offering its people access to locally grown food while also educating them about nutrition, according to the organization’s website. Over 700 children have taken part in the gardening program put on by Think Then Choose Wisely, including students from all levels of the Petersburg public school system.
The young males not help with garden work but they also act as mentors to the other children that help tend the garden. The young farmers were on hand earlier this summer as a new crop of helpers started work on the garden
A group of about 29 children from Little Angel Child Care Learning Center in Petersburg helped at the garden — located on 6 acres of land next to JEB Stuart Elementary School. The children, ranging in age from 4 to 11 years old, helped to harvest produce and eventually planted new crops.
Earlier this spring, students from J.E.B Stuart Elementary School helped plant crops at the urban garden near the school on Beech Road.
When school was out for the summer, the nonprofit group needed a new set of helpers. The children from the Little Angel Child Care Learning Center and group of about 40 children from Trinity Missionary Baptist Church Daycare became the summer helpers..
And helping oversee all the little helpers was a group of young males who are now the first crop to graduate from the Young Farmers program.
“It means so much to me because I watched them closely and watched them working together,” said Jackson, of his time shepherding the youth through the latest growing season. “I did not have one problem. It was amazing to me, they were on-time every day.”
The young farmers were treated to a celebration lunch at Old Towne’s Alibi and presented with crystal plaques of appreciation.
Congratulations to the young farmers and a program that is growing not only vegetables but character and responsibility in young adults.