|Apprentice Spotlight: Kelly Garrett |
Living in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas, Kelly Garrett taught Title One fifth graders in the Teach for America program. She saw food security issues first-hand. “While some children were independent and lived on farms, others were eating Hot Cheetos which were what they could afford in the local quick shop. That was their local market and there was no produce there.”
That experience caused Kelly to want to learn to garden, and garden well.
In California, she learned about CSAs, where she saw giant boxes of fresh produce. By the time she and her husband moved to Oklahoma City, she was a stay-at-home mom with two boys under three years old. And, needing some break-time from parenting, she decided the time was right to learn to garden. She Googled “CSA Oklahoma” and stumbled on CommonWealth Urban Farms.
As a current apprentice, Kelly says she’s learning that she was doing some things wrong and there are lots of things she didn’t know: amending the soil bed; certain techniques, including removing tomato suckers and laying tomato seedlings on their sides when planting so the roots and lower stem are buried, which increases the root systems.
Kelly is not gardening yet at home because the soil there has been treated. She plans to garden in raised bed boxes and containers. And she’s looking toward other gardening as well: “I’d love to plug in to a school garden with kids when my children are in school,” she says.
While Kelly’s work at CommonWealth offers her parenting breaks, and learning how to farm, it’s also an opportunity to get to know the community. “I love the CommonWealth community and the experience here.”
Well, Kelly, it’s mutual. On days of apprenticeship meetings, we get to see Kelly’s little boys and they are a welcome part of the community.—Pat