The teens have been busy tilling and planting their gardens, at home and here on Rural Resources’ Holly Creek Farm. Last week Farm and Grazing Manager Taylor Boles helped one of our new V-Team teens — V-Team is the newest group of teens in our program — till and plant his first vegetable garden! He is excited and so are we! Brian planted some tomatoes, peppers and other veggies started by the teens in the green house here at the farm, along with some seeds he sowed in his freshly tilled soil.
Taylor also spent a couple hours with the V-team teens last week teaching them about plant diseases and how to keep their plants healthy for a good harvest. She developed the class to be a practical, hands-on experience for the group, taking them into the teen garden to get a look at what to watch for in their home gardens. Surrounded by tomato plants, greens, carrots, onions, peas, herbs and more, the class had plenty of examples of vegetables growing at different stages and the pests and diseases they are prone to. They also spent time planning out the rest of the teen garden. There was talk of a small corn maze, a variety of veggies and discusson about trying some more exotic fare in the future. Their enthusiam was evident as Taylor guided their discussion and shared ideas about which items may thrive best in a Southern Appalachian summer.
Looking ahead, the summer is shaping up to be busy and productive with more planting scheduled for the home gardens. Also on the calendar are over a dozen classes, demos and other events aimed at teaching the youth, as well as developing their ability to share their skills and knowledge with the public and try their hand at business enterprises. One of the upcoming classes will focus on preserving the harvest from their gardens, allowing the teens and their families to benefit from the gardens throughout the winter months.
The teens and their families aren’t the only ones benefitiing from all the hard work, though. A local soup kitchen has received several sizeable donations of fresh produce from the Holly Creek teen garden already this season. We — and our teens — are proud that they are not only learning life skills and sustainable agriculture, but also becoming aware of the needs of others and stepping up to help bring positive change to their community and those in need.
— Lorelei Goff, Program Assistant, Farm and Food Teen Training Program