Elizabethton children plant community gardens

Build It Up brought dozens of children out into the sunny Monday, and while others may find the new heat enough to keep them inside, dozens of children went out to plant gardens across the region.

Fourth-grader Silas Pate said they were planting these gardens for those who could not plant them themselves.

“It feels satisfying,” Pate said. “It is a good day’s work here.”

He said he has always enjoyed planting things, saying he enjoys getting his hands in the soil and helping to nourish plants.

The community gardens are a part of Build It Up, a joint effort between Carter County Drug Prevention and the Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development Council. As part of the program, families have been learning about creating and caring for personal gardens of their own.

Planters scattered across Elizabethton, creating gardens in places like the Elizabethton Senior Center, Kids Like Us, the Carter County Library and Pine Ridge. One garden will also go to the Northeast Community Credit Union, though they were unable to plant that one Monday.

CCDP Director Jilian Reece said the gardens have been popular since their inception roughly four years ago.

“We get some new people every year,” Reece said. “People really want to serve in this community.”

Fourth-grader Ruby McGuire echoed this desire, saying the gardens were a chance to do something productive on a clear day.

“It seems like a way to relax and engage in something,” McGuire said. “It brings food and beauty.”

Children planted both flowers and vegetables in various gardens, providing both nature’s beauty as spring continues and a source of food for families in need.

“Gardening is not so hard,” Pate said. “It is fun, and everyone can do it.”

McGuire said she gets to both garden and do something constructive.

“I get to combine the two best things in the world, other than ice cream,” she said.

Those interested can sign up to tend the gardens during the summer months by contacting Reece via email at ccdpdirector@outlook.com. They have a google sheet where volunteers can simply add their names.

“It is always good to help people,” Pate said.

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