MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Benjamin Hooks Central Library is offering a seeds and gardening program for those interested in growing their own food in the city of Memphis.
If those at all interested need a little extra incentive, the program is also completely free.
“I love planting my own seeds versus buying them at the store,” said participant Patricia Roberts. “I’ve gotten some tomatoes, squash, green bell peppers and they’ve turned out good.”
Laura Bontrager is a librarian with Memphis Public Libraries.
“Memphis Public Libraries has a seed library here at Central Library on the third floor,” Bontrager said. “They’re all labeled. We’ve got fruits and vegetables. We have herbs and flowers.”
Bontrager said each branch of the library has a slightly different version of the program.
“People can come in and get seeds for free, share what they’ve saved from their own garden and just be able to start on some thing that maybe they might be a little bit intimidated by,” she said. “If it’s for free, then it’s a lot less intimidating because you can fail and you didn’t really spend any money.”
Booker T. Leigh is a gardening program instructor.
“We take the program to the community,” Leigh said. “Growing your own vegetable is a very important thing and people really enjoy growing their own vegetables because if you see a tomato and know that you planted that tomato here — I know what’s on that tomato. I know what’s in the soil. I know what’s on there.”
Leigh said growing a tomato plant will allow you to grow multiple tomatoes, instead of purchasing tomatoes separately for around 75 cents a piece.
“Everybody having that chance; that equal opportunity, that equal access to get those seeds, I think is really important because groceries are really expensive right now,” Bontrager said.
Participant Patricia Roberts says she loves the program and suggests that people take part in it, growing their own fruits and vegetables.
“You know for a fact that they are fresh out of your own garden,” she said.