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April 22--   Residents of the Paul Anderson Youth Home in Vidalia are learning to grow their own food organically with a vegetable garden and a coop full of chickens.

The boys were assisted in this year's Spring planting of "The Goodness Garden" by members of the agri-business trade association, Southeastern Produce Council (SPC).

{mosimage}Among residents involved are three from the Atlanta metro area including Alex who graduates next month from the home.

"Coming down here and helping build this chicken pen and this garden has been a real experience.  I never know how the experience may benefit me in my future life," he said.

Another resident, Chase, is currently in charge of the chickens and says it's teaching him to become self-sufficient.

"It's taught me a little bit about self-sufficiency and how possible it can actually be.  It's actually inexpensive as well when you have something natural like this.  With the eggs and the compost and the chickens as meat if you want it, you don't have to buy anything," he notes.

And a New Jersey transplant, who now calls Gwinnett County home, says the whole thing has been a learning experience for him.

According to Matt, "It's really opened my eyes to a lot of different things because I'm a city boy, but it's been a fun process and I've learned a lot."


Mark Shuman of Reidsville was among the SPC members helping on planting day.  He's proud of the help SPC is able to provide to the youth home.

"To tie-in the produce part of the Goodness Garden with what the youth home does has been a tremendous blessing for the boys and for us as well.

"The idea of sowing and reaping being built into their curriculum and these guys seeing the fruit of their labor come to pass is really something.

"The overall work they do there at the youth home is invaluable to the communities of this country," Shuman said.


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