Posted on 21 June 2012 by

The Community that Changed Children’s Lives One Garden at a Time

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Last year, I started the Charlestown Community Gardens in Indiana.

It was a great experience that taught me a lot about human nature.

Our community garden space, not only, provided raised beds for gardening but also created an atmosphere by which like-minded people could gather.

By the end of the gardening season, we were all ready preparing for next year’s garden space.

The Charlestown Community Garden phase II occurred on April 1, 2012. The weather was not prefect, as a matter of fact it rained earlier in the day, but as every gardener knows the garden must go on so we went out anyway.

It seemed that Ceres, the Greek goddess of agriculture, shined down upon us and made the sun come out. We rolled out landscape cloth, move several tons of rock, laid beds, and filled them with well-seasoned horse manure. All this was accomplished in one day and as we looked at what we had completed, I realized that yes we all can make a difference in our own community.

The new beds will be used for adult gardeners and as luck would have it all of them were taken before they were ever built. The beds from last year are going to be used to teach the next crop of farmers, I hope, how to garden. These future farmers are kids who participate in The Blessings in a Backpack program. Through the garden’s The Maxwell Project, these kids will be taught how to grow their own food and what “real food” really tastes like. And contrary to what some people may believe, the lettuce on your fast food hamburger does not count as a vegetable.

While this project has had its trials and tribulations, it is well worth the effort to teach kids not only how to be “urban farmers” but also to be self-sustaining.

At the end of The Maxwell Project, I hope my community can come out the winner in its own Hunger Games and that kids will know what to do when asked what would the Lorax do?

Please feel free to see a series of videos called The Birth of a Community Garden on HomeGrownVideos1 on YouTube. This explains how we, as a community, have built our community gardens.

This series will continue through the gardening season, so check the channel often for updates.

So until we blog again, challenge your community to win their own “Hunger Games.” If you take this challenge, I promise you that life, as you know it, will never be the same in a positive way.

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