“I’ve had this vision of creating a sort of community garden and agricultural park for kids for about 15 years,” said Leslie Lazenby, 4-H program assistant at the AgriLife Extension office for Madison County, Madisonville. “I was beginning to think that if it happened at all, it would just be a small garden and maybe a barn that I’d put in my own back yard.”
Lazenby said she had given up hope for a larger effort when she was turned down for a grant that would involve building a community garden on a 6.5 acre site close to the AgriLife Extension office. The site was the grounds of a former elementary school, and the land had been unused for several years, so the county was considering putting the property up for sale.
The day after she was turned down for her grant, however, Rev. Debbie Daigle of nearby Holy Innocents Episcopal Church came to Lazenby’s office. Daigle had said she had her own similar vision – serving area youth and feeding the underprivileged in the community and teaching them to feed themselves.
“For a while, the Lord had been pulling on my heart to work with underprivileged children and others through planting, gardening and other agricultural activities, but I’m a city girl and didn’t know too much about any of that,” Daigle said. “So a friend of mine suggested I talk to Leslie at the AgriLife Extension office. We talked and I soon realized her vision and mine were closely in line — we both wanted to work with kids and help feed the less fortunate.”