Students prepare library ground for community garden

The Lake Arthur Library will soon have its first-ever community garden.

Students from the Jeff Davis Parish 4-H program and library staff spent Good Friday rolling up their sleeves and diving into building beds, smoothing out the soil and preparing the garden for planting.

“It’s all about getting back to our roots and the whole point of 4-H,” local 4-H Agent Kyndal Comeaux said. ”There’s no better way than to start a garden.”

Most youth have never gotten involved in growing their own food, he said.

“Nine out of 10 will tell you they have never tried growing a garden before,” Comeaux said. “This will give them a sense of pride and accomplishment to know that they grew a tomato from a seed to feed their friends and families.”

Librarian Zenetta Lee said it takes a lot of work to keep a garden growing. She said the garden will be open to local residents who want to help maintain it or share in its bountiful harvest.

“The garden is for the enter community,” she said. “We welcome anybody who wants to work on it or help tend the plants, weed the garden or help with composing.”

The library also plans to present monthly programs spotlighting gardening tips and recipes using fresh items from the garden.

“We really want to have a spot where the community can come together and have a place to enjoy fresh items from the garden,” Lee said.

The garden, located in front of the library, will have blueberries, blackberries, tomatoes, cucumbers and a few herbs, she said.

“We live in a day and age where kids don’t realize where their food comes from,” Assistant 4-H Agent Sonya Guidry said. “This is a great opportunity for them to learn that they just don’t go to the store to buy it.”

Library Director Michael Staton agrees.

“It’s a good thing to teach the kids where their food comes from,” Staton said. “We are already such an agriculture based parish, so it’s good for the youth to know how we grow things from the beginning to the end.”

Lily Ridgeway, 10, wanted to help with the project because she had never worked in or grown a garden before. She hopes to learn more about how plants grow.

Mackenzie Francis, 11, said working in the garden has taught about digging up roots and clearing out branches, but the best part is playing in the dirt.

The community project is a partnership between the Lake Arthur Library, Jeff Davis Parish 4-H, LSU Ag-Center, LSU Master Gardener Program and Southern University.

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