Last Monday, Master Gardener Doug Buchan was busy teaching a group of kids about composting and soil.

“The plant will not grow if the soil’s not good because the microorganisms are what feed the roots, and so if the soil’s not good, no microorganism, no food for the plant, the plant dies,” he said. “That’s why we work hard at making sure the soils are good.”

Buchan has been a master gardener for 20 years and said he loves working with youth.

“If we don’t teach them young, then they’re not going to want to do it when they’re old,” he said. “We’ve got a generation now that doesn’t do it. We’re trying to teach the children so they’ll teach their parents... This is a great group of kids. If you’re seeing stuff on the news about problems and stuff, you need to come here and see this. These guys are amazing. They’re great young people. They listen attentively; they ask questions and participate in my little experiments. They’re great kids.”

Life Code Mentoring Group’s gardening program, “Growing and Nourishing Healthy Communities” is underway, teaching the basics every Monday evening at the A.L. Turner Community Center in Carthage. There are four more Mondays in the program.

Life Code mentor Felita Ewans said the community garden shows kids how to create something of their own.

“Some of these children will be able to go back and teach at their own homes to their parents,” she said. “So these are things that they will be able to take forward, and it teaches them that you’re taking care of something. I mean it’s so many life lessons, and that’s basically what Life Code is about, is teach the kids life lessons. Teaching them how to treat other people. Teaching them business skills, entrepreneurial skills.

“It’s just a mirage of things that they’re learning here, and I think that this group — our group kind of fluctuates in numbers, but we have some that are consistent, and I think that those are the one who will be our future leaders,” she said.

Kayla Hills, 11, said she’s glad she’s gotten the chance to come to the program.

“It’s been an experience to make a lot of friends, and we learn new things about gardening, and we get new recipes to try,” she said. “... I like that you get food out of it, and I also like just being able to play in the dirt without getting in trouble.”

She mentioned some specific things she’s learned in just the first two weeks of the program.

“I’ve learned, like when you do plant stuff make sure to give it space for it grow,” she said. “Don’t overfeed it with water. It has to have a specific amount of sun. And also I actually learned how to use a power drill.”

Kadadriane Bell, 15, said he likes how Life Code teaches you about life so when you get older, you’ll already know the stuff.

“It’s helping me because in the future if I want to plant a garden I’ll know how,” he said. “I like planting, and at the end hopefully you can eat the food.”

The program is at 6 p.m. on Mondays at the A.L. Turner Community Center, 1023 MLK Blvd. in Carthage. People of all ages are invited to attend.

Sponsoring the program are Shreveport Volunteer Network, Life Code Mentoring, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Ace Hardware, Cain Lumber and Fairplay Nursery.

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