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November 20, 2012

A great way to fight childhood hunger

Congratulations to the Cass County Resource Network and Thomas Henderson on their efforts to develop community gardens throughout the city.

Henderson is the founder of the ACTS project, American Communities Transitioning to Sustainability. His plan is to develop these gardens to create what he hopes will be a more sustainable economy and a healthier community.

The project has already obtained a plot of land in front of Ivy Tech, and it’s also working with neighborhood groups and local schools.

Childhood hunger is one of the key issues facing Cass County. More than half of the students in Logansport’s public schools qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and educators say they know they have kids in their classrooms going to bed hungry. And the need is growing.

The Salvation Army provided food to more than 700 families last month, and representatives say they’re seeing a growing number of first time visitors to the food pantry. People who have never before been forced to ask for help now find themselves in that position.

The good news is the county is meeting this problem head on. The United of Way of Cass County joined with local educators to set up backpack programs at schools throughout the county, and now the resource network is working with Henderson on a plan for community gardens.

Henderson is no stranger to such efforts. Originally from South Carolina, he has helped create community gardens in cities such as New York and Nashville as a consultant for the United Methodist Church. He has an undergraduate degree in agriculture and master’s and doctoral degrees in theology.

Henderson says the work begins by educating people on organic and sustainable farming while putting together funding for farm equipment. The program then uses networking to find out what plots of land are available.

By spring, Henderson hopes to have volunteers and organic farmers-in-training planting crops, mainly vegetables. Then, the food will be sold in the community.

This program has great potential, and we hope to see it succeed.

Henderson says he’s encouraged by the support he has gotten so far, but he is still looking for more partners. If you’d like to get involved, drop Henderson a note or give him a call.

Want to help?

To obtain more information on the program or to sign up to help, contact Thomas Henderson, executive director of the ACTS Project. The address is 301 E. Broadway, Suite 205, Logansport IN 46947, and the telephone number is 574-870-6966.

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