Students, VACSS members build community garden in Picayune

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 5, 2017

A group of Picayune students sacrificed a few Saturday mornings to begin work on a new community garden on Jarrell Street.

In December, the Picayune City Council donated the vacant lot and water services for the project, led by the Veterans and Citizens Supporting Students Club at Picayune Memorial High School.

Allison Wheat, the Picayune School District teacher behind the project, said she wanted to help the local community and pass down skills many of her students were never exposed to.

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Participating students gained a sense of accomplishment for completing such a project. Supplies for the project were provided by VACSS, Wheat said. Most of the students have never worked in a garden, she said.

“I want the younger generation to learn how to do some of these skills that have gone by the wayside so that we don’t forget,” Wheat said. “They can do these things for themselves, and then teach their children and grandchildren.”

Over two weekends, the small group of students and VACSS members put together raised plant beds before planting tomatoes, squash, eggplant and cucumbers, Wheat said.

Working together, the students and adults learned from one another, something Wheat previously said was one of the project’s goals and is an initiative of Club.

The group also planted blueberry bushes and lemon and fig trees, she said.

Students and community members will be able to benefit from the fruits of their labor this summer, Wheat said.

“If you water and you weed, then you can eat,” she said.

For many of her students, picking fresh produce off the plant and cooking at home is a foreign concept, but one they’re excited to try.

Wheat said another workday is scheduled when school starts again in the fall, but the community near Picayune’s newest garden is more than willing to keep an eye on things.

Just across the street, students at Annie’s Academic Kindergarten and Daycare Center will visit the garden and get a taste of its fruits, Wheat said.

The plan is to hold to hold a community day, asking community leaders and churches in the area to participate and help the project flourish.

About Julia Arenstam

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