Valdosta Daily Times

June 16, 2013

How this garden grew

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — A special-needs couple wanted a garden. A teacher not only wanted to teach gardening skills but she also wanted to instill a sense of community purpose within her young students.

As illustrated in a story published in The Times’ Sunday editions, these two aims came together in a powerful way.

Diane Howard is a proponent for the community, especially for bringing fresh produce to the community and bringing people to the area farmers who grow vegetables. She introduced Hoyt and Elizabeth Redden to Jane Teasley.

Hoyt is blind and Elizabeth is confined to a wheelchair. Jane is a Sallas-Mahone Elementary School teacher who also leads the Boys & Girls Club’s garden club.

The Reddens wanted a garden as close as their backyard but are physically unable to work it. Jane Teasley has been teaching 5- to 12-year-olds to garden. Each Friday, for the past few months, Teasley brings these children to the Reddens’ house where they work the garden, but they also learn a lesson about helping one another. Lessons about building community.

In the coming weeks, the Reddens will enjoy the produce from the plants growing in their backyard. Teasley has already enjoyed experiencing the progress her students have made working this garden.

Another lesson may be found in the realization of Elizabeth Redden: “A lot of times, people don’t know what you need until you tell them.”

Some times, as in this case, with both the Reddens and Jane Teasley, needs are met, and wishes come true, simply by saying them to the right person.