PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - In 2012, Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Prestonsburg began a vegetable garden as part of 'Grow Appalachia'. Now, in its 2nd year the garden continues to grow in more ways than one.
The garden is something folks say the area desperately needs. St. Vincent Mission Project Manager Kathy Curtis says, "Here in Floyd County we are 120th out of 120 counties in our health issues so we would really like to bring that health up."
The original garden featured five 20-foot-long beds.
Curtis says, "We started with peas, cabbage, and broccoli in the spring."
They then went on to grow even more with crops like beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelon. They also grew in size after receiving a grant from 'Kitchen Gardeners International' and the Kentucky based 'Growing Warriors' project.
"Helping veterans learn to be farmers, so they expanded our garden...they doubled the size of our garden by adding 9 more beds," says Curtis.
While the garden has proven beneficial to the St. Vincent Mission, it is also a major asset to the college.
Biology professor Tom Vierheller says, "Students are learning more about plants and growth and living things. Then to come outside and actually see how the seed grows as it germinates and develops is an important part of learning biology, biology is the science of life."
As they learn all about the science of gardening, they also get hands on experience.
Tammy Ball, Professor of Human Services says, "We want students to be able to come get their two year degree and be able to get into the workforce and make a living, and this is one good opportunity for that."
A garden that grows not only fruits and vegetables but also brings knowledge and creates opportunity.
The majority of food grown in the garden is donated to local food pantries.