Community spirit filled the air and tradition was rooted deeply as the Good Friday planting in the new Club Organix garden on the grounds of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Mississippi Capitol Unit got underway. BGCCM, the King Edward/Hilton Gardens Inn, and community members joined to make the garden a reality. Experts and novices, parents and children, chefs – friends of King Edward/Hilton Gardens Inn Chef Nick Wallace – all showed up to help.
The Club Organix garden came to fruition when BGCCM Volunteer Coordinator Joni Wright met with Chef Wallace hoping to find a mentor for the kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs to do cooking demonstrations, while teaching them about healthy lifestyles and nutrition. Chef Wallace took it further, suggesting a farm to table initiative.
“I want to show the kids that you don’t have to go and get canned food full of sodium,” says Chef Wallace. “Club Organix is really pushing for a healthier lifestyle. We want to set a high standard here in Mississippi that a lot of people are going to want to follow. My passion is to develop younger chefs to discover their own talents in the same way I was taught.”
A few fruit trees and bushes, vegetables and herbs, donated by Green Oak Nursery, were enthusiastically planted into soil tilled and prepared by Chef Wallace, his father Jessie Donald, uncle Tommy Donald, and friend Kendrick Smith.
“The BGCCM and the King Edward/Hilton Garden Inn, two long-standing landmarks in the city of Jackson,” explains Billy Redd, Pres./CEO of the BGCCM, “are partnering to create this organic garden in line with BGCCM healthy lifestyles initiatives – teaching kids to exercise and eat right. Now, we’re taking an athletic field behind our Club on Capitol Street where our kids are already getting their exercise and we’re adding an organic garden. King Edward/Hilton Garden Inn Chef Nick Wallace, one of the top chefs in Mississippi, will be teaching the them how to grow, cook and eat healthful food.” Thanks to Chef Wallace, the children at BGCCM will not only know what foods are better for them to eat, they’ll learn how to grow them!