August 11, 2013

Blind gardeners picking fruits of their labors

Two are selling produce at a farm stand in Fairfield; they plan to donate food to the Boys & Girls Club.

By DOUG HARLOW Morning Sentinel

(Continued from page 1)

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Milk jugs help visually impaired gardeners David Perry of Waterville and Deon Lyons of Clinton identify rows in a garden they have cultivated in Fairfield.

Jeff Pouland/Morning Sentinel

"There's a lot of blind people who are into gardening," Lyons said. "JAWS talks to me -- it tells me what I'm highlighting on the screen. That's how I do all my writing, all my emailing."

The men have a farm stand on Main Street in front of the American Legion post, not far from the garden, which is on land owned by a friend Roger Gagne. Proceeds from vegetable sales will be used to restock seed and equipment and to purchase compost for next year. What's left over will be donated.

"We going to be donating about two-thirds of our onions to the Waterville Boys & Girls Club," Perry said. "We got 180 row feet of onions, each the size of a baseball; so about 90 pounds of onions. We will donate whatever they need; there are so many needy families out there."

Ken Walsh, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club and YMCA said he and other club managers met with Perry on Friday for a plan involving kids working on organic gardens and possible year-round green houses at the club at the Alfond Youth Center on North Street and at North End Public Housing Club house.

Getting children involved in growing gardens and seeing the benefit of eating fresh produce is sound idea, Walsh said. The combined programs serve more than 40,000 hot meals after school each year, he said.

"Having the expertise of Deon and David will help us develop this program into the future," Walsh said. "The end result will be a new exciting program for our 5,000 youth members that will teach them a lifelong skill and appreciation of gardening."

Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at:


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