Community Gardens in Highland Heights cultivating more than just produce
News from NKU...
Tuesday - June 1, 2010
For immediate release...
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Gardens are a place where people not only grow food to nourish their bodies, but feed their souls. And just as the committee who created the Northern Kentucky Community Gardens program had hoped, each of the 52 plots has a gardener and those 52 gardeners have countless ways their plot fosters personal growth.
There is the daughter who brings her wheelchair-bound father out to satisfy a longing to dig in the dirt as he had years ago. There is the group of neighbors who are now garden neighbors. There is the teacher who uses the gardens as an analogy between cultivating the earth and cultivating a business for his student entrepreneurs. There is the mother and her young daughter learning to garden together. There is the youth group from the local church donating what they grow to the local food bank. The stories are as diverse as the gardeners who share them.
"It's always exciting to see your hard work come to fruition, but this project has been extra gratifying," said Maggie Gough, committee member and student wellness manager at Northern Kentucky University. "We had the opportunity to meet all of our gardeners during a gardening class, and it was the most satisfying experience to hear everyone's stories and their need for a place like this."
And it's not just the stories the committee has enjoyed, but also the acts of community and camaraderie seen from the group. "Just yesterday I was emailed by a woman who found out that her fellow gardener had lost some of his tomato plants to a frost; she needed to let him know she left him some new ones in his plot," Gough said. "There is a sense that they are all in this together."
The NKU Wellness Center is nurturing that sentiment by having a graduate health promotions student facilitate events for the gardeners this summer. The events will allow gardeners to get to know each other while sharing healthy recipes, gardening tips and getting free nutrition information.
The committee, which is made up of representatives from the City of Highland Heights, NKU, the Campbell County Cooperative Extension Office and Asbury United Methodist Church, hopes to see similar initiatives launched around northern Kentucky.
For more information about the project, or to start a community initiative like this, contact Gough at (859) 572-6668.
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