Emily Carothers, 13, of Meadow Bridge, West Virginia, a member of Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council and an eighth-grader at Meadow Bridge High School, planted an organic vegetable garden on the grounds of a local library to provide fresh produce to children and families in her community. Emily loves to garden at home, and has several friends who enjoy raising flowers. After seeing a news report about community gardens, “I thought it would be great if we could work together on a project,” she said.
Her first step was to find a suitable location. After the Fayette County library system offered space at the Meadow Bridge Town Library, Emily studied composting and best planting practices for organic vegetables and flowers. She then secured a grant to purchase planters, soil and seeds. Emily and fellow volunteers planted the new garden, and once the first crop was ready, hosted a “Harvest Day” for community members to come by and pick up fresh, pesticide-free vegetables. They have since added a bird feeder and a painted picnic table to the garden. Emily felt especially good about her project when a young girl, who had been a very picky eater, shocked her mother by trying some kale and announcing that she loved it. “She now enjoys visiting the garden and making her own salads,” said Emily.