Plans for the garden – in small, medium and large – will be available at county extension offices in every Kentucky county, Beshear said.
“This garden … is only a small portion of what the garden will be across the state next year,” she said.
Agriculture students and FFA members from Western Hills High School planted the small summer plot in May. It includes corn, peppers, green beans, carrots, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, watermelon and cantaloupe. They will tend it throughout the summer.
Kentucky State University helped prepare the soil for the garden, and planted a fall garden with members of the Frankfort Garden Club.
The crops will go to the Governor’s Mansion and ACCESS soup kitchen, providing fresh produce to Frankfort residents who wouldn’t get them otherwise.
Beshear said Wednesday that the garden will promote a healthier lifestyle through the nutrition from the fruits and vegetables, the exercise involved in its planting and the claming effect a garden can have.
“Growing a garden, whether it’s in your own home or if it’s a community garden, is just one small step – but a very major step – in making a difference in the world for tomorrow,” she said.
Franklin County Extension Agent Kim Cowherd called having the plans available to all Kentuckians a “really good piece” of the project.
“Putting it out into communities across the state, that truly makes it usable for everybody,” she said. “The plants they’ve got in here – it’s something that everybody can do.”
Cowherd said the plan is easy enough for first-time gardeners. She said succession gardening – having plots for spring, summer and fall harvests – keeps home gardens running throughout the year.
Local FFAs and garden clubs can get involved too, she said.
“It’s reaching out to a lot of different areas, age groups, demographics and everything,” she said.
The garden will reduce Frankfort’s carbon footprint, Beshear said, and provide students with a learning opportunity.
“It began with a seed, and from a seed, we see what we have,” she said. “That seed can educate, that seed can feed, that seed can provide opportunities for people working together.”
The project is modeled after first lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden, which she planted in March, citing the need for fresh produce for her family, staff and visitors.
Lexington resident Jeanne Dawahare contacted Gov. Steve Beshear about replicating the Obama’s garden in Kentucky.
“Everybody wins,” said Dawahare, who has been a backyard gardener for years. “You go from the children, to the food, to the product, and everybody’s enjoying it.”
Beshear, alongside FFA members, Franklin County Public Schools Superintendent Harrie Buecker, Finance Cabinet Secretary Jonathan Miller and others, cut the first zucchini and squash from the soil Wednesday.
They planned to take it to the soup kitchen afterward, Buecker said.