COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)- Ronzell Buckner, the owner of Skippers Seafood and Executive Officer of Turn Around Columbus is now managing the Victory Garden.
The new farm sits on ten acres of land behind Marshall Middle School. The farm also has a small section for gardening, so elementary students can learn about plants.
“It has a small section that we do gardening in to teach the small kids about where food comes and to give them an opportunity to plant seeds and raise beds. We also let them do starter seeds in cups, these are elementary school kids. Then we have the farm itself ten acres in total once we finish with it,” Buckner said.
Buckner told News 3 the farm is being placed on this side of town because this is one of the poorest areas in Columbus.
“We are in the poorest community in Columbus, Georgia and we are raising the food so that we can help the people in that community. As far as having free fresh vegetables, free preserves, free fruit and also free honey and things like that. We’re also doing this farm because we want to teach our young people where fresh food comes from instead of getting food out of packages and constantly using frozen food to feed their family,” Buckner said.
Buckner hopes this farm will have a beneficial impact on this part of the community.
“There’s a lot of obesity in our young people and within our city and the impact we’re looking for is to cut down on obesity. We also did the Martin Luther King learning trail, in which the farm sits on the trail itself at the JD Davis Elementary School and also Marshall Middle School. We did the trail first because we wanted to give them a nice place to exercise such as walk, ride bikes, jog, and the DragonFly trail heard about what we were doing and they partnered with us,” Buckner said.
Buckner wants the garden to focus on putting a stop to high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. He also wants the garden to influence children to stay in school by giving them a hands-on learning experience.
The farm has an acre of blueberries and muscadines. They’re also in the process of starting to grow their spring crops such as collards, turnips, various beans, corn, squash, zucchini, and more. Buckner told News 3 the elementary students enjoy being a part of the gardening process.
“I think this will get them excited, this is our first full year of working with the farm. We started in the middle of the summer and the kids had an opportunity to come out and they get real excited. They love participating in it,” Buckner said.
Students at Carver High School will also have a chance to participate in the farm and learn about agriculture. Students who continue to participate with the farm may have an opportunity to receive a full scholarship to Tuskegee University or Fort Valley State University.
Even though this is a farm, Buckner does not plan on including farm animals such as pigs and cows but he does have other animals in mind.
“We have about 60,000 bees on the farm and we also have a chicken coop that has been prepared and we will be bringing in chickens. So the kids can see where eggs come from and they can get the eggs out of the nest. We’re not going to bring in animals, if we do it’ll be something like goats, sheep, one or two but we’re not going to bring animals in because of the stench,” Buckner said.
Buckner told News 3 he feels great about the farm.
“I’ve been getting support from the community and I’ve been getting support from corporate businesses and they want to see this happen. We’re just about in the middle of Midtown so I feel good about it and I think it’s going to make a big difference in our community,” Buckner said.