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The Wright County Children’s Home has been blessed by a whole group of community donors and volunteers who have brought a new and special experience to them. Soon the boys and girls will be able to eat fresh vegetables from their very own garden outside the kitchen door.
The idea for a garden began last month when Loretta Burgin, Fresh Food Access Specialist from Ozark Action Inc., met a friend, Tina Bruffet, a house parent for the home and asked: “Would you like to have a garden and feed the children with your own home grown vegetables?”
This started a project which involved many folks who gave of themselves and made the idea come alive.
Everyone loves a garden and that shows from all the willing participants who donated time, effort and products.
First Ed Rogers from Vanzant donated a truckload of compost cow manure rich for growing. David Swopes from the City of Mansfield donated two truckloads of mulch that was transported to the home by Barry Baker, the volunteer handy man for the Children’s Home.
Next, Barry transported a load of horse manure that was donated by Rory Boeddeker from the Missouri Fox Trotters Association in Ava. Then, Jim Nelson from Oldfield Saw Mill gave 12 landscape timbers 6″x6″x9′ for the shrubs to be planted later.
Joe Paden from Hicks Lumber in Mountain Grove helped the Home buy lumber at cost for six raised beds which Barry built. Dave Sheets at MFA Mountain Grove helped the Home buy three wire fences to be used for a separate trellis between each bed.
Next, Barry brought rich nutrients for the soil consisting of cottonseed, molasses, soy meal, rock phosphate, and mycorrhizae, all of which stimulates the roots of the plants and helps the hair roots grow quicker and stronger. Green sand was added which is a slow, three-year release of natural fertilizer. Then the plots were limed.
Finally, Barry, together with his wife Debbie, Loretta and her daughter, Amanda, and boyfriend, Justin, and teenagers from the Children’s Home were ready to start planting over $80 worth of vegetables, herbs and flowers that had been donated by Erin Thompson, owner of Show Me Scapes in Mountain Grove as well as over $100 worth of vegetables and annuals from Linda Hetherington, owner of The Plant Place in Norwood.
Together all these included: tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, catnip, rosemary, thyme, oregano, cilantro, vinca, gomp, zinnias, marigolds, petunias and succulents. Hyacinth will grow on each trellis. (Pumpkins and watermelons will soon be added.)
On the appointed planting day, however, the donated tractor that was to move the dirt from a huge pile to the garden plots decided to blow its transmission before it could arrive.
What to do?
Wright County Children’s Home board member Joe Sellars, from Norwood, came to the rescue with his tractor and front loader. Soon the project was moving forward again.
Today, a healthy batch of growing goodness may be seen.
Ozark Action Inc. has helped thousands of underprivileged people in six counties that live under the poverty line by paying electric bills and also helping with heating and cooling problems as well as HUD Housing.
Ozark Action Inc. has also already established 15 gardens throughout the counties.
Loretta herself has a triple degree of criminal justice, psychology and sociology from Drury College. She grew up on a farm and is a devoted gardener.
When asked what the goal was for building the WCCH garden she answered: “To teach the children to learn to survive on their own and to be self sufficient…it is important for the future of our children.”
Barry Baker, who owns Sunny Acres farm in Mountain Grove, is also devoted to gardening and when he is not volunteering at the Senior Center in Mountain Grove, tending to his nine bee hives, planting thousands of trees and shrubs from the Missouri State Conservation Department on his 20 acres along with dozens of every kind of fruit trees, and establishing safe habitats for wildlife, he is constantly helping at the Children’s Home making endless repairs, painting, and cooking special meals.
When asked why he gives so much time to the Children’s Home, he replied: “Ici C’est Mon Raison D’etre”, meaning, “This is my reason for being.”