Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

April 16, 2013

Jacksonville’s own 'Community Garden' starts growing season

JACKSONVILLE — Ah, the “community garden” — that compound noun consisting of two words as high on the genius scale as Reece's early experiments with chocolate and peanut butter.  Perhaps even rivaling the creation of Dr. Pepper.

It could be argued that the combination of “community” and “garden”  pairs together two concepts that ultimately resulted in the growth of 3,500 pounds of vegetables for area food pantries last year.

It certainly seemed that way Saturday at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 1023 Corinth Road. Area residents there kicked off a very promising produce-growing season Saturday in Jacksonville's very own community garden.

“Community” is certainly the correct word.  There was plenty of local enthusiasm there Saturday.

“We had over eight people there and they did a really good job,” explained Lois Hutson, a local farm support and resource development specialist. “ … There was even an 81-year-old lady who read about it in the newspapers and wanted to come volunteer. She volunteers at one of the nursing homes and walks everywhere around Jacksonville.”

Father Mark Kusmirek, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows, has said a community garden embodies a communal effort in which every participant shares in the ministry of providing for others. He was out of the office Monday.

And, not forgetting the “garden” part of the compound noun, it is important to note that the people who were there were hoping spur even more growth than last year with well-wishes, enthusiasm, and gardening moxie.

Last year's culinary avalanche of peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and okra will be hard to beat. That batch certainly went a long way toward helping the pantries run by the H.O.P.E. and the local First United Methodist and Catholic churches, officials said.

This community garden, now in its fifth year, is extremely popular with Father Kusmirek's parishioners, who adore contributing to the growing and harvesting efforts.

“Everyone did a great job planting zucchini and peppers and tomatoes,” Hutson said. “I had to leave early but they were talking about corn when I left.”


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