Community garden partners grow an idea to put Ky. juveniles to work and put fresh produce on tables

Our "Making a Difference" feature shines the spotlight on those unsung heroes among us: people who do good things for others every day, whether as a volunteer or as part of their job. Read on to find out how you can tell us about someone you know who’s making a difference!
Who: Grant County Distribution Garden
What they do: Grow fruits and vegetables in a community garden for those in need
Where they do it: Dry Ridge, Ky.
In 2011, Grant County Fiscal Court representatives were considering options for court-ordered community service projects for juveniles. The goal was to “find a way to do community service that was meaningful” for the youths as well as others, said Vanessa Rose, who at the time was the fiscal court’s community service coordinator.
One idea proposed was a community garden. Around the same time, representatives from four other organizations with a similar idea stepped forward. Together, representatives from the Grant County Fiscal Court, Grant County Cooperative Extension , Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission , 4-H and Vineyard Church of Grant County formed the Grant County Distribution Garden.
While the idea for the garden stemmed from a need for community service for juveniles in the court system, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, FFA students and other community groups also volunteer in the garden.
Once harvested, produce is delivered to senior citizens and individuals in low-income housing in Grant County.
Rose said her inspiration for helping those in need was instilled in her through her upbringing.
“I was raised with parents who always helped others. It was just always something we did. It just seemed like the natural thing to do,” she said.
The community garden may see some changes this year, she said. Rose recently transitioned from her role with the fiscal court to Kynector Program Regional Supervisor for the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission.
How you can make a difference
While the distribution garden is in the process of changing, volunteers are needed for the coming season. Demand is especially high for community groups who are willing and able to adopt rows of produce, Rose said.
Those who adopt rows help plant fruits and vegetables, pull weeds, harvest crops and deliver produce to those in need. Individuals or groups who want to get involved should submit a message via the distribution garden’s Facebook page.
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