Riverside FFA grows community garden

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Marty Wynn, Riverside FFA Advisor, is proud of the community garden which has been a joint effort of many volunteers, including students, who have worked together to make it possible.

This is the second year for the Riverside FFA, under the direction of Adviser Marty Wynn, to grow a community garden. The first year the garden was a 500 square foot raised bed. This year, thanks to the joint efforts of the school district, the city of Lake City, local farmers and students, over 15,000 square feet of vegetables were grown.

"We could not have done it without the help of a lot of volunteers," Wynn said. "A local farmer approached our principal back in the winter about expanding the community garden and it took off from there."

The high school also involved the elementary school as they planted cabbage.

Watermelons still growing on the FFA garden.

This year the garden had tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, Black Diamond watermelons, purple hull peas, okra, black-eyed peas and green beans.

The garden was open for the public to pick what they could use.

Wynn said they plan on planting pumpkins so they will be ready during the Halloween and Thanksgiving season for elementary students to enjoy. He said they also are looking at planting fall turnips for the community.

Wynn said farmers Blake Robertson and Len B. Nall worked the ground, provided the poly pipe and fertilizer. Mayor Jon Milligan helped with the project, Matt Short trenched the area, the school maintenance crew put in over 500 feet of 2" pipe for the irrigation, and Michael Davidson donated some of the seeds.

Wynn said the National FFA program FFS (food, fiber and shelter) is ongoing and the state FFA got involved on down to Riverside's Chapter.

"Our chapter was recognized at the state FFA Convention as part of the project," Wynn said. "We have learned this year what the popular items are. Next year we plan to go from two to six rows of purple hull peas."

"Mr. Wynn and his classes have done an outstanding job with the community garden this year," Principal Jeff Priest said. "I approached Mr. Knight in January about the possibility of a community garden and he thought it was a great idea. I would like to especially thank Blake Robertson and Mayor Jon Milligan for their work on the project. They were very instrumental in helping Mr. Wynn and me make this project a reality. I would like to also thank Tommy Akins, Matt Short, and Len Nall for their help in the project."

"I look forward to building on the success that the FFA program and Mr. Wynn had this year with the garden and look forward to the possibility of expanding the garden for the upcoming year. I once again want to thank Mr. Wynn for his vision on this project and all the hard work he put in through this spring and summer on the community garden," Priest said.

The community garden is located behind the Riverside junior/senior high building. It is open to the public seven days a week during daylight hours.

This is Mr. Wynn's 21st year as FFA adviser. He called the community garden a cool deal and again expressed his appreciation to everyone who took a part.

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