The Owensboro Black Expo, the Northwest Neighborhood Alliance and the Master Gardener’s program have joined forces to establish a community garden inside Max Rhodes Park, 714 W. Seventh St., that will serve multiple purposes.

And on Saturday at 1 p.m., the three local organizations will launch the initiative that’s being called the Deep Roots Garden project.

According to Dracin Williams, a Black Expo member, the garden was inspired by data that showed a prevalence of negative health outcomes not only within the Black community but also within the low-income and poor populations.

Williams said the Black Expo then began to look at programming to not only encourage better eating habits but also to draw residents and neighbors to a place where they could work together.

“The Deep Roots Project is an attempt to educate Black folks specifically on health and sustainability in a way that is relatable and digestible,” Williams said. “So we wanted to start with a community garden not only because it’s about raising food and giving opportunities to talk about healthy habits in terms of eating, but also because it’s symbolic of what we as Black people want from the larger community.”

Much like a garden, Williams said communities should be “nurturing one another and about creating the conditions the plant — and by extension humans — to be healthy.”

The city of Owensboro has granted permission for the groups to build eight raised beds inside the park that will be tended to by those who want to be involved in the Deep Roots Garden project.

Williams said the types of vegetables that will be grown have yet to be determined.

“At this first event, we’re wanting community input on what vegetables would you like to see grown here,” he said. “And then we want to get people to sign up and help. …From the beginning, we want community involvement.”

Northwest Neighborhood Alliance board member David Curry said there are plans, however, to transport several fruits and vegetables from the Western Kentucky Botanical Gardens to the community garden on Saturday. Those include kale, snow peas, collards and strawberries.

Curry said one of the goals with the project is to have a community garden in each of the 12 neighborhood alliances throughout Owensboro.

He said the Max Rhodes location will act as a blueprint for future gardens.

A second location is already in the works, depending on how the Max Rhodes location goes over the next year, Curry said.

“Hopefully it catches like wildfire and people see the success you can have with it,” he said. “A lot of people are excited.”

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

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