|Richard Tatton, Janie Campbell, Suda Merriman, Carey Seals and Joe Piccolo look at the corn being grown in the 7th District Juvenile Court garden in north Price. The garden is a work program developed for local youth who become involved in the juvenile justice system.|
Local residents may not be used to seeing the attributes of hard work in the juvenile justice system.
But in Carbon County and Price city, youth who get into trouble may end up in a farm type situation, doing a bit of hard labor.
For several years, the city and the 7th District Juvenile Court have gone into the vegetable business. All the produce is sent to the Carbon food bank.
The garden program began a few years ago in south Price on some privately owned property.
But when Price bought the old United States Bureau of Land Management complex on 900 North and 700 East, city employee Suda Merriman asked officials if she could have a hillside covered with weeds for the project.
The mayor and city council supported moving the garden to due to previous problems at the old site.
"It's unbelievable," pointed out Carey Seals, deputy probation officer supervisor for the juvenile court. "Suda just took this hillside and made it grow."
The large garden produces spaghetti squash, corn, eggplants, peppers and about every vegetable that will grow in the area.
"Working in the dirt, growing their own vegetables does something to the kids we help," said Seals. "When they see what they plant grow in a very short period of time from a seed to a plant it is satisfying. This is one garden where there is no vandalism."
The plans are to expand the garden in the future.
Next year, Merriman indicated that she plans to have the youth participating in the program plant more vegatables.
Merriman is also planning to plant raspberry bushes and plum trees near the garden site as well.
And eventually, a tree farm will spring up behind the garden to serve the city's needs for replacement and transplant trees.
"Who'd think that this old blue shale could grow anything like this," said Price Mayor Joe Piccolo as he stood looking at the site on Monday afternoon.
But Merriman's green thumb and the youth's hard labor have made the desert blossom.
Maybe the blossoms can also turn youth away from creating problems into becoming productive citizens as well.