Local children and adult volunteers began cultivating a community garden in Hobson City recently and expect their labors to bear fruit within a month.
Located at the former playground at the old C.E. Hanna School, now Hobson City Town Hall, the garden has tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, peanuts, cucumbers, beans, peas, sweet corn, squash and okra growing on one tenth of an acre.
The garden is part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture community development program and is funded through a $3,000 grant from the Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council.
The goals of the garden program are to bring the community together, develop an interest in gardening in children and help feed the poor.
“It is going to be great,” Hobson City Mayor Alberta McCrory said of the garden. “I am pleased with the people in the community coming out and taking an interest in it.”
Eddie May, north Alabama outreach coordinator for the Department of Agriculture, said the 15 children and seven adult volunteers started working at the garden in late May and will continue working two Saturdays per month throughout the summer.
“The children do the needed maintenance like the weeding and they keep a log of their findings,” May said. “Then we go inside and all the kids get to discuss what they have found.”
The first batch of produce from the garden will be given to the elderly in the community by way of the New Hope Baptist Church, May said.
He added that the juvenile volunteers would then sell the rest of the produce at a stand in Hobson City to raise more money for the garden.
“Overall, we’re just getting the community engaged, and we’re teaching kids to be more interested in science,” McCrory said.
Though the volunteers have been gardening for a few weeks, development of it actually started in March.
May said the city of Oxford used equipment to remove the old concrete slabs at the former playground. Then, the Beshears Tractor and Equipment Company in Oxford donated five hours of time and equipment to cultivate the soil for the garden, he said.
May said the plan is to keep the garden going indefinitely.
“This is not to be a one-shot deal,” he said. “This will be an ongoing program. And we really plan to teach the kids not only gardening skills, but also business skills and leadership skills.”
Anyone in the community is invited to volunteer and help with the garden.
Those who wish to participate or have questions about the program should call May at 256-283-1208.