Lima beans and string beans and tomatoes oh my! The Town of Smyrna is partnering with the Smyrna/Clayton Boys & Girls Club and the Greater Kent Committee in growing one of Smyrna’s first community gardens.
A planting ceremony was held June 18 at the Boys & Girls Club where staff and volunteers from the three groups helped local children plant a variety of vegetables including green peppers, pole beans and more.
“As a community, all residents should nurture the mind, body, and spirit of our young people,” said Smyrna Mayor Joanne Masten. “Executive Director Trisha Moses and her staff at the Smyrna Boys & Girls Club do a fantastic job of this and the community garden initiative is a wonderful way to teach young people healthy eating habits as well as the importance of getting outside and staying physically active.”
The community garden initiative is the latest in a series of efforts to improve the health and wellness of local residents. The project follows the Town of Smyrna recently receiving the 2014 Healthy Community Award by Gov. Jack Markell. The award is given to towns that incorporate health promotion as an integral part of the town, address policy and practice changes related to healthy living, and promote and implement approaches that are sustainable and replicable.
Moses said the Boys & Girls Club has been doing a garden for children in the summer for a few years. The program gives children a chance to learn about growing a garden; however, doing a community garden with the town elevates what’s already been done. The community garden will culminate with a community dinner later this year.
Moses said there’s even been talk of selling produce at the Smyrna Farmers Market.
Smyrna Assistant to the Town Manager Dawn Thompson further explained how the town got involved with the Boys & Girls Club’s garden.
“A few months ago, the town began to work with the Greater Kent Committee to expand their community garden program throughout northern Kent County. This was a perfect fit,” Thompson said. “All of us recognized the importance of teaching young people healthy eating habits at an early age as well as the benefits of physical activity and working together towards a common goal.”
Thompson said the GKC and its members and donors provided the plants and associated materials. Moreover, Thompson said the town hopes the garden will encourage young people and their families to embrace healthy eating habits and less sedentary lifestyles. Thompson said she hopes other community and civic organizations will want to team up with the town in this effort.
Thompson said the Boys & Girls Club Community Garden will be the first of several gardens in town.
“The garden located at the Boys & Girls Club is primarily for the club’s young people and their families. The Parks & Recreation Committee is scouting locations for gardens throughout town where anyone may plant and enjoy,” Thompson said.