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Community garden’s planting delayed due to weather

Published 12:00am Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weather and conflicting commitments have prevented workers with the Alcorn State University Extension Service from breaking the dirt at the 6-acre lot at the Vicksburg Municipal Airport that has been designated for the city’s community garden, an official with the extension service said.

Extension officials are again hoping for a period of good weather to move equipment on the site and begin preparing the soil for planting, said Joshua Coleman, field coordinator of ASU’s Cooperative Extension program.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen on May 8 designated the airport land as the garden site, and city and ASU officials expected to have equipment breaking the ground by the end of May or the first part of June.

But Coleman said the weather and extension service summer programs in Vicksburg and Claiborne County forced a delay in plowing the land.

He said the heavy rains that soaked the city in early June made the airport property too soggy for tractors to go in and break the ground. As officials waited for the weather to clear and the ground to dry, the extension service was in the process of overseeing several summer camp programs in the area.

“We had a camp at the Kings Community Center and were involved with a camp at Triumph Church,” he said. “We were also working with a culture crossroads camp in Claiborne County. Just when we thought there was a break in the weather, it would rain, and we couldn’t get on the ground.”

He said officials are hoping for a long spell of dry weather so tractors can begin working the ground

The extended forecast for the rest of the week and next week is not encouraging with rain predicted for July 22-24.

While ASU officials wait, another community garden in town is producing vegetables to feed a neighborhood on East Avenue.

Now in its second year, the Mount Calvary Baptist Church garden is providing produce for church members and its neighbors on East Avenue, garden coordinator Karen Frederick said.

“The garden is doing well,” she said, adding scarecrows were recently installed to keep deer out of the garden. “We’ve been able to give vegetables to a lot of people.”
The Vicksburg community garden is a joint effort between the city, Shape Up Mississippi and Alcorn State to promote healthy lifestyles, which include exercise and healthy eating.

The garden is part of the university’s “Power of Three Program” to promote health and wellness, starting with a community garden, programs on nutrition and food preparation and exercise. Plans for the garden also include a walking track to help promote fitness.

Besides growing vegetables and fruit, ASU extension officials say the garden is projected be the site of weekly classes on healthy eating and food preparation.

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