Garden grows hope in LaGrange government housing

A green garden means a fresh start for residents living at Benjamin Harvey Homes in LaGrange.
A green garden means a fresh start for residents living at Benjamin Harvey Homes in LaGrange.

LAGRANGE, Ga. – People living in government housing in LaGrange are growing hope with a community gardening project. The year-old garden is reaping gains for both young and old. About 16 people are sowing seeds of unity to make the garden available to the residents at Benjamin Harvey Homes.

Troup County High School junior Tristen Ware works hard in the garden during the summer.

“Yeah, I don’t think they expect that from a place like this,” Ware said.

Ware is one of two teens working on the garden project. He says he’s learned leadership skills, farming tips and a strong work ethic.However, Ware says work ethic is a virtue some of his fellow classmates take for granted.

“They want to do other things,” Ware explained. “Things like this I don’t think interests them. But you know, I don’t really care because they respect it.”

While some people visit the garden to dig deep and get their hands dirty, others come to sit back, relax and reflect. Vice President of the LaGrange Housing Authority gardening club Vickie Cox says gardening is therapeutic for her. Cox suffers from PTSD, but working outside helps ease her anxiety.

“To be able to dig in the dirt and then just have my mind set and plant a seed and watch it grow, it’s amazing,” Cox said.

Earnest Pickett helps maintain the garden. He says the $7,500 investment to build the popular mini farm will produce long-lasting healthier homes and people. The garden even houses a chicken coop, soon to be populated with chickens that will produce freshly laid eggs.

“Any time you look at investment in a person, it’s just like the Bible: you teach a man to fish, he can eat,” Pickett explained.

It’s that investment in Tristen Ware and others at Benjamin Harvey homes that stakes hope in both young and old. Faye Gilliam with the gardening club tells News 3 a lot of older people depend on food stamps for their next meal. However, with the gardening project, they will be able to go to their backyard and pick fresh fruits and vegetables to add balance to their diet. Another garden is in the works for more government housing in LaGrange.

 

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