Garden gets chance to grow with grant

STEUBENVILLE -The Bothers and Sisters Intelligentsia Crew are gearing up for another season of teaching young people the value of the Earth and gardening through its Unity Garden at Sixth Street downtown, located across from the Herald-Star.

The start date this year for the garden will be June 3 and continue from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays through the summer. The community garden organizers also had some good news this year in the form of a $3,412 grant from the Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery, part of the national Presbyterian Church, according to Connie Quinn, Presbytery representative.

“The Presbyterian Church has four major offerings,” said Quinn, adding B.A.S.I.C. Circle had to apply for the grant. “They worked for that grant. It’s a way for people to become self-sufficient.”

Quinn continued to say the grant met the criteria to be awarded, and the garden is a worthy community project.

“It was worthy, and it involves the community and the young people,” said Quinn. “It seemed like a win-win situation. The kids can’t lose. I’m sure (the garden) will look great.”

Jay “Justice” Slappy, B.A.S.I.C. Circle vice president, said the funds will be used to help with supplies, seeds and other items needed to get this year’s garden up and running.

“We filled out the paper work (for the grant) more than a year ago,” said Slappy, adding there are between 30 to 40 children involved in the garden during the summer. “This is our sixth season coming up.”

Slappy also said the funds will help with transporting children to and back from the site, feeding them and making sure they are hydrated.

“We didn’t have the funds for food, pickups and beverages,” he said. “We basically want to take the urban gardening to a new level. We now have the funding to do so.”

B.A.S.I.C. Circle also has the assistance of Mary O’Conner, who said she is “the hands-on person. It’s spiritual working under God’s blue sky.”

Slappy continued to say the garden is to help “stimulate and develop the mind and the health and well-being of today’s youth. We want to encourage other volunteers and organizations to get involved.

“We presently are looking for another donated area for the garden,” Slappy continued. “If anyone has any suggestions, please let us know. Until then we will continue on the present lot located on North Sixth Street.

And volunteers are needed. “This year we are striving to recruit groups, families and organizations to help participate by adopting an area in the garden,” he said.

“Studies have found the average family with a vegetable garden spends just $70 a year on it and grows an estimated $600 worth of vegetables,” he said. “Also, we are looking to network with others who share a common interest in nature. We have to be more conscious of what we put into our bodies.”

Donation checks should be made to the Unity Garden Fund and sent to Huntington Bank,100 N. Fourth St., Steubenville, OH 43952.

To volunteer to work on the Unity Garden, send an e-mail to