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Sowing Gardens Forward in West Virginia

Jun 16, 2014

The Ranson Old Town Community Garden in West Virginia is proud to introduce our neighbor, Rahman Wilcox. Rahman lives in a well-worn frame house where his mother, 16 aunts and uncles, and many cousins grew up. His grandfather’s vegetable garden was legendary, providing for the growing family before Rahman’s time; but the farm garden died along with the patriarch who tended it. 

Last summer, Rahman became a regular around our first-year community garden, first seeking elusive employment, then staying for the new friends and sense of peace that he found there. As a volunteer, he was responsible for watering and overseeing the part of the garden he could see from his window---an experimental planting of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in specially prepared straw bales. The straw bale experiment succeeded beyond all expectations. Rahman found new self-respect and purpose in this accomplishment, becoming known as the “master gardener” of the straw bales to all who came through to admire the fruits of this project. Last summer a professional film crew captured his enthusiasm in a video which can be seen on the City of Ranson WV website.

This spring, Rahman has returned to volunteer in the community garden. To reward his diligence, he is now being paid a small stipend to mow the areas around the garden. Perhaps, he may one day apply his new skills to reviving that old family garden plot.

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