Taking Back Our Neighborhoods - Victory Gardens - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods - Victory Gardens

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Is something as simple as a garden a way to take back a neighborhood?

A Hinds County man thinks so.

But this is no ordinary garden.

Some Jackson senior citizens at the T. L. Love Community Center are discovering there is more to U.S. Victory Gardens than fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Senior citizens at the T. L. Love Community Center in Jackson usually stayed inside and for activity, made quilts and blankets.

That was before Mike Stewart came along with what he called his incredible raining garden.

It's mounted on a stand, which Stewart claims, takes the labor out of gardening. 

"And it comes with the stand, the containers, the mix," Stewart said. "The dual watering system; it's got an overhead raining system and if it's a little windy like the wind that just picked up, there's a valve you turn in the back and converts into a drip system." 

These gardens have been in all seven of the City of Jackson's senior centers for a year now.

At the T. L. Love Center, the seniors were so inspired, this year, they plowed a full sized plot. 

"It's good exercise and I love seeing it grow," said 81 year old Joseph Britton.

"Well, I think it's a great way to take back neighborhoods," said Louis Armstrong, Deputy Director of the Jackson Department of Human and Cultural Services. "I wish that we could have more gardens throughout the community. We've also started this program with our 4 and 5 year olds in our childcare program." 

Typically, Stewart's U.S. Victory Gardens sell for almost $500 apiece.

The ones that the senior centers have didn't cost the City of Jackson anything. 

Asked about donating so many of the gardens.

"Yes sir, that's kind of the fun part of the job," Stewart said. "We donated seven of them to all the senior centers here in the city of Jackson. I've donated them to, coming up to Catholic Charities. Donate them to handicap and, you know, it's just fun part of the job." 

Fun for Stewart, therapeutic and rewarding for the seniors who tend them. 

Asked what he plans to do with the vegetables once they've matured.

"Probably eat them," Britton said.

Stewart says reports of contaminated produce a few years ago, prompted him to design his portable gardens. 

Let us know how we can help you take back your neighborhood.

And, if you've already turned your community around, we want to know how you did it.

Just send an email to hballou@wlbt.com.

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