CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Conway's community garden is considered a garden with purpose.
It was started by a Conway council member in the Racepath area to encourage the residents to choose healthier eating habits.
While it is not a full-grown garden just yet, come harvest time, Councilman Larry White said there will be a variety of vegetable and fruits available.
"Corn, butterbeans, peas, watermelon, okra, cabbage, you name it, it's out there," said White, who started the garden on his family's property. "My grandmother's house was on this property and she always had a garden, and I said once I got of age, I wanted to grow a garden here too."
Since its inception, the garden has become a helping hand initiative.
"We started this garden maybe about five years ago as a means of trying to grow fresh fruit and vegetables for the community at large, and we were growing crops to give to the senior citizens," said White. "We're hoping that the kids will come back and try to learn more about farming, try to grow their own fruits and vegetables, and eat healthier as well."
White added that many low-income families and residents don't always have access to healthy food options. He wanted to change that.
"So often when we go to the grocery store, you don't know what's in the food," he said. "But when you grow your own, you know exactly what you are putting in them."
The other purpose for the garden is to help provide job skills for those interested in the culinary industry.
The Palmetto Works Community Development Corporation is working with Horry Georgetown Technical College and other agencies such as A Father's Place for community outreach.
"We've built eight raised vegetable gardens because we think that understanding everything that there is about foods will be helpful to the persons that we serve," said Cheryl Moore Adamson, executive director of Palmetto Works.
The CHOPS Program stands for Culinary and Hospitality Operatives Prepared to Serve. It is a culinary arts training program that focuses on assisting those re-entering the community after being incarcerated.
Adamson said there is a curriculum that will be in place and will offer those who participate a chance to earn a national food handler's certification.
"We're actually going to facilitate a food stand," said Eddrena Hood-Davis, project director for CHOPS. "That's going to help because it teaches our people self-sufficiency and it is teaching them more independence as they learn where their food comes from and how to facilitate those means."
Volunteers for the garden are always needed to help keep it clean. Donations are also accepted to purchase supplies to keep it a year-round project.
Palmetto Works is currently looking for volunteers and donations as well. Anyone in the community is welcome to the crops.
To donate to the Conway Community Go Fund Me account, click here.