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Community garden program centers on kids and gardens

For one day, the Vicksburg Community Garden at the Vicksburg Municipal Airport off U.S. 61, was devoted to one group — children.

“We’ve been doing this for two years,” said Linda Fondren, one of the garden’s organizers. “April is Kids Garden Month, and so it was about getting the children out to learn about proper nutrition and about getting the kids out with their parents to learn how to grow a garden at home in containers.

“Alcorn State is giving a demonstration about that, and then they (the children) will be planting, whether it’s tomatoes, squash, flowers, herbs, whatever, in their container, getting their hands dirty and they get to take that container with them and grow their vegetables at home.”

Alcorn State’s booth was a popular spot, as children with their parents lined up to select a plant, put it in its container, and add soil and water. Many children carried the plants like precious cargo. Besides planting, other activities included face painting by Warren Central High School students and a bounce house.

Some children opted for swings at the site, while adults got their exercise doing their laps on the garden’s walking track.

Others stopped to talk with registered dieticians Ali Hopson and Francine Nosser, who own a nutrition consulting business in Vicksburg.

“We’ve just seen a need for nutrition education when someone is diagnosed with diabetes or whether they just want to eat healthy, or have cardi-vascular disease,” Nosser said.

“We are promoting seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables,” she said. “And we have pamphlets and recipes, we have a brochure with a week’s worth of meals using seasonal fruits and vegetables.”

There was also information how to get children to eat more vegetables, Hopson said. There were also displays of ways to make vegetables attractive to children, and samples of nutritious snacks.

Fondren pointed to the garden.

“Everything hasn’t grown up yet; but we’ll give it a couple more months,” she said. “We’ve got butterfly gardens going on,” she said, adding a splash pad and 60-foot pavilion are planned for the site. This was a place where there was absolutely nothing here, and now it’s a park where people can come out and socialize with one another.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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