Student Spotlight – August 2014: Haydn Tatum – Growing for Others

Photo of Haydn in his community garden plot and Jeff Hudgens, director of soup kitchen, accepting produce for community meal.

Photo of Haydn in his community garden plot and Jeff Hudgens, director of soup kitchen, accepting produce for community meal.

Haydn and his grandmother Myrna Fouts spent part of their summer working in the Cornelia community gardens growing and providing food for local soup kitchen. 

Eleven-year-old Haydn Tatum loves sports like many boys his age but he also found out this summer that he enjoys gardening.  Once a week at 7 a.m. Hayden would ride his bike over to the Cornelia community gardens to meet and work with his grandmother Myrna Fouts. Their harvest goes to the community soup kitchen where director Jeff Hudgens works with volunteers to prepare meals for those in need.

“I have inherited a love of the soil from my mother and father. They came to Habersham County in 1937 from Holland, Michigan.  My mother’s father grew beets and carrots for commercial sale. He grew cucumbers for the Heinz pickle factory,” said Mrs. Fouts.  Now she is passing her passion and knowledge down to her grandson.

One of Haydn’s favorite parts of his summer was being able to ride his bike to the garden and having the independence to take care of his own vegetables. “I enjoyed watching the plants grow and get bigger each week and bringing my friends by to see what I was growing” says Haydn. Currently Haydn is harvesting okra and watching his 23 sweet potato slips grow. He plans to harvest the sweet potatoes in September.

The City of Cornelia’s community gardens began four years ago when Commissioner Don Bagwell presented the idea.  Special Projects Manager, Mona Painter developed twenty-one 10’x10’ plots at the Grove Level road land area with fencing and water access.  The plots are available to the public to rent for $15.00 per plot.  The city also provides tools and watering hoses for the plot renters, and Cornelia Farm and Garden has given 20% off coupons for seeds and plants.  “It is a community partnership to provide residents an opportunity to grow and take home their own food,” says Myrna. 

“The first year, I rented two plots and grew tomatoes, carrot, lettuce, kale, collards, turnips and spinach.  I found out that you can grow something in the garden year round here if you want,” reflects Myrna.  “This year along with my personal harvest, Haydn and I decided to donate our produce to help feed others. No matter how you do it, giving back to your community will touch your life as well as help others”.

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