SYRACUSE — Helping those in the community while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
That is just part of the what is is taking place in a garden along Ohio 124 in Syracuse.
Adjudicated juveniles from Meigs County Juvenile Court are working in the gardens, both in Syracuse and at Meigs High School, as part of their community service. The project not only teaches them the hard work involved in the gardening process, but allows them to have fresh produce at home and provides it to others in the community.
Ron Vance, who organized the project through Juvenile Court, said that the idea for the garden began last spring with discussions between himself and Meigs County Juvenile Judge Scott Powell.
The land for the garden in Syracuse was donated for the project, with a water source available to help with watering the garden. A storage location for the gardening tools is also available at the site. The garden is located across the highway from the London Pool on Ohio 124 in Syracuse.
The produce from the gardens is sent home with the workers to provide healthy food to their families, with some sent to the Parish Shop and Food Pantry.
This year, funding for the garden has also come from the Creating Healthy Communities program through the Meigs County Health Department which is funded through the Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Joseph Verdier, who works with the grant through the Health Department, spoke about the benefits of healthy eating and healthy activities.
Verdier added that the program helps to engage the community in activities which will decrease cardiovascular disease and problems.
In addition to providing some funding for the community garden, the grant funding will provide bicycle racks in Racine, Syracuse, and Middleport, as well as an outdoor exercise station near the walking path in Pomeroy.
All of the activities are designed to promote a healthy lifestyle in the community.
Additional plants and seeds have also been donated from local residents, greenhouses and farms. The Meigs Local Ag Science Class has also taken part in the garden located at Meigs High School.
Currently, there is approximately 4,200 square feet of garden with more than a dozen types of vegetables grown between the two gardens.
Vance added that the group would like to start a long range project, such as an orchard, at the high school, with the freshman class possible being able to see a harvest by the time they graduate.