MIDDLESBORO — Bell County became the first community in the United States to have a community organic garden Thursday. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday afternoon at the garden location, which is at 10 Worker’s Lane on North 15th Street n Middlesboro. It is located next to the city recycling center and behind the Middlesboro Mall.
“We are starting a project that is an absolute beginning,” said Pat Biggerstaff. “It has never been done before.”
Representatives from Microclinic International (MCI), the Bell County Health Department, and interested members from the community, attended the ceremony.
MCI, the Team Up for Health program, which is provided through the Bell County Health Department and the City of Middlesboro worked together to get this project underway.
The gardening project is sponsored by Humana.
This project was inspired by the thought of people being able to grow their own food so they could spend less money in the store and eat healthier.
Leigh Ann Baker, a member of the Team Up for Health Program, explained that the whole idea for this garden grew from teaching people classes about how to eat healthy.
Baker stated that she wanted to teach people how to grow their own food.
There had been talk about starting a small organic garden on the higher land at Middlesboro City Hall, but Mayor Bill Kelley discovered that the city did not own the land. After that he helped locate the land on 10 Worker’s Lane, which is where the garden is located.
“I just steered the boat,” said Kelley. “Pat (Biggerstaff) and Leigh Ann (Baker) have done a fantastic job with it (the garden).”
The mayor also mentioned that some of the things grown can be donated to people in need.
Different people in the community came together to help with the project. Magistrates from the county have helped by giving mulch to the project. Three States Printing donated money for one of the raised handicap beds. The other four beds were donated by Doug Knuckles, owner of Jim Brown Supply.
Currently, there are 60 beds in the organic garden. Beds will be given on a first come, first serve basis.
For those wanting to learn how to grow their own food, classes are held on Thursdays at 5:00 p.m. at the garden. The second week of each month, classes are also held on Monday. If it is raining, meetings are held at the Middlesboro Health Department conference room. Classes are taught by Pat Biggerstaff.
For more information about the community organic garden contact Leigh Ann Baker at 337-7046 ext. 243.