Master Gardeners plant positive seeds in the Pine Belt
PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Many gardeners pride themselves on how their garden looks. Mississippi Master Gardeners, however, also pride themselves on what their gardens can do for others.
The Master Gardeners Program is an international initiative that provides horticultural training. Once certified, master gardeners often become invested in their local communities through volunteer efforts, education and research.
A gardening “power couple,” Troy and Susan Carter, exemplify these principles of community investment.
Troy is the President of the Mississippi Master Gardeners Association, and Susan is the President of the Mississippi Master Gardeners Pine Belt chapter. Together, their green touch reaches far, but even Troy said they couldn’t make everything sprout from the ground.
“I don’t like one particular kind (of a plant),” Troy said. “Some of them don’t like me because I can’t get them to grow, but, you know, we try.”
Susan, however, said that the impact sewn in the lives of those around them is more important than the seeds they sew in the ground.
“(Community service) has become a part of my life in the last 16 years,” Susan said. “I have it in my mind that I serve people.”
Pine Belt master gardeners have been responsible for landscaping projects at places like Bobby Chain Municipal Airport in Hattiesburg. They are currently working on a beautification project at Oak Grove Public Library that should be completed in the fall.
Mississippi Master Gardeners Vice President John Malanchak said the same commitment to community service is present in master gardener programs around the state.
Malanchak’s own Dominic Gardens, located across the Jackson Metro Area, are an example of the community impact a garden can make.
Dominic Gardens is an educational and nutritional resource for Jackson area residents, particularly those with special needs.
“I don’t want a reward,” Malanchak said. “And, as the prayer says by St. Ignatius, ‘To labor and not ask for reward, only in knowing that you’re doing God’s will.’ And, that’s my reward that I’m trying to do what he wants me to do.”
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