Through the viewfinder: Community garden brings life back to Minorville

Published 12:33 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

NATCHEZ — Since February, something beautiful has been growing in Minorville.

Brenham Avenue resident Jeremy Houston said he and his friend Jennifer Hill first agreed in 2015 the neighborhood should have its own garden.

Since the dedication to the Wharlest Jackson earlier this year, the neighborhood has maintained a community garden on Brenham Avenue for the last six months. Jackson was killed in February of 1967 after a bomb was placed under the frame of his pick-up truck. The case is still unsolved.

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“Its a way for him (Wharlest Jackson) to receive justice for the community he gave his life for, for them to receive healthy and nutritious food,” Houston said.

Rows of potatoes, green peppers, tomatoes, collard greens, onions, okra, squash corn and watermelon inhabit the land.

Maintaining the garden for Houston means spending mornings before work weeding the soil and also sifting out pieces of glass and debris from an old house which once stood on the property. It was the house Houston said he once lived in.

After he moved, the house became run down, he said.

His grandfather, Freeman Reason, started growing food there for two years before it became the community garden.

Houston has been taking directions from his grandfather and learning from YouTube videos how to keep the garden growing strong.

The Minorville area has been stigmatized because of the past, Houston said. He and others wanted to prove that something good can come from Minor Street and can benefit people.

“The garden brings a beacon of hope to young and old generations that one aspect of our culture will still be preserved and practiced,” Houston said. “More specifically, the community providing for itself, for self sufficient means.”

By the hands of young and older folk in the community the garden has served over 40 people in the neighborhood.

The earth’s palette will be changing come October. Houston said they are hoping to gain some supplies such as rakes, hoes, a wheel barrow, some fencing and a sign marking the garden.

“Across the country in other cities, they are growing community gardens,” Houston said. “What makes Natchez different? We can show the community that we can grow healthy food in our own backyard.”