Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

March 27, 2013

Program helps low-income families grow gardens

By AMANDA LOVIZA VICKERY
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW —

With the help of a local non-profit organization, low-income households in the community have an opportunity each spring to plant their own gardens.

Community Action of Southern Kentucky’s Garden Program begins this year on April 1. Individuals or families who have a combined income of 125 percent of the federal poverty level or less are eligible to receive one of Community Action’s $20 garden supply vouchers. With the voucher, which can be spent at Community Action’s local partners, program participants can buy seeds, fertilizer, plants and other garden-starting supplies. Providing a voucher instead of simply a $20 bill gives the garden program greater longterm benefits, said Community Action Public Information Coordinator Charity Parrish.

“The garden program encourages self-support by providing low-income people with the materials to start a vegetable garden,” Parrish said.

It’s an important program because it helps community members be able to grow their own food, therefore becoming both healthier and more self-sufficient, Parrish said.

“It’s all about teaching people to be self-reliant and self-sufficient,” Parrish said. “That’s what we do at Community Action.”

Darla Handy, Barren County community coordinator for Community Action, works with the garden growers individually throughout the growing season, and said it is a very popular program.

“The clients love it,” Handy said.

The garden program has been offered for a decade or so, Handy said, but has really blossomed in the last four to five years. When Handy started working at Community Action, she only gave out about 30 vouchers, she said, but now the number is closer to 70. Many clients use the garden program year after year, and they tell others about it, and the program spreads.

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