- Associated Press - Saturday, June 28, 2014

GLASGOW, Ky. (AP) - Roslyn McKay is trying to teach her students at the Boys and Girls Club of Glasgow-Barren County about where food really comes from.

McKay, a youth development professional with Boys and Girls Club, started a garden at its facility located on Bunche Avenue. Students started June 2 with an introduction to gardening. They planted seeds in recycled milk jugs, and once the seedlings started to grow, the students placed them in old, wooden pallets that were converted into raised beds.

Seven groups of students are each in charge of their own pallets, and they have been decorated by each group. There are about 100 students in all.

They keep a daily gardening journal about the progress of their plants. Every day, for about 20 minutes, the kids write in their journals and will continue to monitor their plant’s growth throughout the summer.

McKay decided to start a weekly competition between the different groups. Voting will determine which group has the cleanest bed, which beds are the best maintained, and eventually, when they start to produce vegetables, which group has the most bounty from their garden.

“A lot of these kids had no idea where we get our food from,” McKay said. “I would ask them and they would say, ‘the grocery store.’”

She said she tries to challenge them by posing questions such as “What would happen if grocery stores suddenly closed their doors and no longer provided food?” or “How do you think our ancient ancestors were able to provide food?”

The students have been baffled, and they have been learning the importance of gardening, she said.

On a recent Friday, about 10 students went on a field trip to Dennison’s Roadside Market. They are planning several other field trips this summer as well, such as Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese and a trip to Lexington to see the University of Kentucky’s garden that is primarily taken care of by children.

They have big plans for their garden, but it’s only just beginning. There are plans to have pole bean teepees, pumpkins and watermelons growing up the fence that surrounds the garden, as well as wild flowers planted along the perimeter.

McKay said she hopes to eventually start a community garden and that the garden at the Boys and Girls Club will continue to grow.

The Boys and Girls Club is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations and grants for many of its programs. It hopes to earn grants to start the community garden, as well as buy a greenhouse or a tower garden.

Several businesses in the area have supported this first installment in their garden. Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, the Garden Club and Southern States have all donated money or supplies to their initiatives, McKay said.

Jennifer Wilkinson, education coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Glasgow-Barren County, said she thinks they chose the right person for the job to take over the garden program.

“With something like this, you need someone who has the passion for it, and Rosalyn does. She has the know-how, the vision, and someone like her is hard to find.” Wilkinson said. “We’re excited to see how it all turns out, and how much progress they’ll make all summer.”

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Information from: Glasgow Daily Times, http://www.glasgowdailytimes.com

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