Picayune beekeeper to host community garden project

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 13, 2016

Picayune beekeeper Mike Holmes understands the importance of bees to the world’s ecosystem, which is one of the reasons he and a group of volunteers decided to launch the Pearl River County Community Gardens Project.
Through research, Holmes said bee experts have concluded that every third bite of food people put in their mouths is related to bees and their pollination efforts.
“Bees are vital to the whole ecosystem,” Holmes said. “It’s also been said that if bees went extinct, then humans would be extinct four years behind them.”
In the past four years, Holmes said there has been a growth in the bee population due to awareness efforts regarding the importance of beekeeping.
Holmes was inspired to create gardens throughout the county after donating bees to a community garden in New Orleans and Bay St. Louis.
“Bees and gardens go hand in hand,” he said. “Bees are so beneficiary to gardens and I’m always thinking of ways to give back. We are targeting children, but also want support from the parents.”
Although he plans to plant community gardens throughout the entire county, their main focus right now is the Picayune area.
For the group’s first project, Holmes plans to teach children how to plant seeds. Once they sprout, the vegetable plants will be transplanted into a garden. Children will also have an opportunity to express their creative talents by making signage and painting stepping stones.
Once the vegetables are harvested, Holmes said they might host a farmer’s market to support the project and donate some to local convalescent homes and food banks.
“The whole cycle of things leads to kids giving back to the community and getting to know each other better,” Holmes said. “It will give them a sense of accomplishment, community and working together to know they created something with their hands.”
Holmes said he also hopes to spark their interest in beekeeping.
For the first project, Holmes ask that participants bring their own rakes, hoes, small planting shovels, fertilizer, seeds and plants.
“Anything that people are willing to bring and donate we would love to have,” Holmes said. “This is a project for everybody from children to adults.”
The first workday will be held on August 20 at 121 Salem Road from 9 a.m. until, Holmes said. For more information and to RSVP, visit the Facebook page Pearl River County Community Gardens Project or contact Holmes at 769-717-9312, C.C. Tassin at 601-466-0355, Ethel Knight at 601-916-4512 or Kelly Spiers-Sauls at 601-215-6981.

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