Volunteers Begin Planting For Spring At Antioch Discovery Garden

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)- The Antioch Discovery Garden is now ready for planting season, drawing in hundreds of volunteers to help.

"This garden is a community garden," Antioch for Youth and Family director Charolette Tidwell said. "It feeds veterans, it feeds senior citizens, children and families."

Some of the volunteers came with little experience.

"I want to learn how to plant potatoes and onions properly because I haven't done it right," First United Methodist Church member Jane Stauffer said. "My little garden at home is about 4x4 and it's not that profitable, but maybe I'll learn some things."

Other volunteers were putting on the gardening gloves for the first time.

"They tell me to start weed-eating," volunteer Madeline Alt said. "I thought it was going to be boring. Next thing you know, it's actually really fun."

The volunteers will plant more than 600 potatoes and 500 onions, but the goal for this community garden is to educate people of every age.

"We have people in their sixties and seventies," Stauffer said. "We have children out here from the church with their parents."

"We have education where we can teach them while they're harvesting this food and taking it home," Tidwell said. "[Teach them] how to prepare that food, so we're excited about what goes on in the community garden."

This garden is not only helping feed people in the community, but also teaching the people of Fort Smith how to eat healthy.

"It's something we all need to be aware of and it's surely helping us be more aware of what's going on in Fort Smith," Stauffer said.

University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and other local schools are volunteering in the coming weeks to continue to get the garden ready for Spring harvest.

More plans including an education site are in the works for the garden.