Marquita Heard picked up seedlings on behalf of Mrs. Woody’s Community Garden, which has served the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood for roughly 40 years.

The garden is named after its founder, who has since passed away. Heard learned everything about gardening from her and has chosen to continue the work in Woody’s memory. The seedlings will go a long way toward shortening the time between planting and harvest, she said.

Marquita Heard picked up seedlings on behalf of Mrs. Woody’s Community Garden in Strawberry Mansion. (Kenny Cooper/WHYY)

“The best part about getting seedlings at this time of year is that it increases how fast you can have food. So if we grew everything from seed, it would take a lot longer, so we can have stuff ready in the next week or two to start giving away to people,” Heard said.

There are not many options for healthy food in her neighborhood, she said. Having healthy options available and the ability to garden makes everyone who takes part feel good.

Eldredge Ragsdale was picking up seedlings on behalf of the Awbury Community Garden, which he has been a part of for about 20 years.

Ragsdale supervises, and he said all the credit goes to the gardeners he works with.

Eldredge Ragsdale has been a part of the Awbury Community Garden for 20 years. (Kenny Cooper/WHYY)

“Everybody grows different types of herbs, different types of vegetables, and everybody cooperates with one another and shares ideas, and basically that’s how we roll,” he said.

None of the food harvested goes to waste under Ragsdale’s eye — it all goes to a food cupboard and a local community center.

“We drop it off to them,” he said. “When I go on that front door with those onions, it lights the whole place up, and they say, ‘I know you’re here, Mr. Ragsdale, because I can smell the onions.’”

Eldredge Ragsdale’s car is fully packed with seedlings for Awbury Community Garden. (Kenny Cooper/WHYY)

PHS has four more distribution events planned for the rest of the year. In the meantime, Thompson, who was recently hired, is working on an inclusive leadership training program for the gardeners.

“People are aching for a lot of human interaction right now. And doing it outside safely — the garden is a great place to do it,” Hill said. “And by bringing these people together for a common goal of growing food for donation, I think it’s really benefiting the community that way as well.”

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