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Giving away vegetable plants for those in need

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – For many, getting a hold of fresh food can be difficult, especially if money isn’t readily available.

A Wabash Valley woman and her family are trying to fix that.

Jessica Fields spent her Friday morning gathering her last vegetable plants at J&J Nursery.

Fields has more than 9,000 of them headed for the Vigo County Fairgrounds.

“All kinds of tomatoes, all kinds of peppers, we have lettuce, we have red and green cabbage, we have some okra, we have some eggplant,” Fields said.

All 9,000 of the plants will get new homes Saturday. The cost? Free. But there’s a purpose.

“I see the need when we go to the soup kitchens,” Fields said. “And I think that’s one of the problems we have is we need to get back to the basics so to speak. Teach people to garden. And if you can’t afford to go buy vegetable plants, this is an opportunity to buy vegetable plants, or to have vegetable plants rather, and maybe feed yourself.”

More than 100 hours have gone into preparing these vegetable plants.

And as volunteers, help fields get the plants ready to be given away, they can’t help but reflect on what Fields and her family are doing for the community.

“It comes from the heart,” volunteer Mary Beth Prickel said. “To see and to be able to help others, and to help others learn how to sustain themselves with a garden. And to be able to do things to feed themselves and their children and families.”

Fields does this to give to the community, but also in honor of her grandfathers who were gardeners themselves. Fields said it’s humbling to be able to give these plants away.

“There was a time in my life where I was hungry,” Fields said. “And to be able to be able to give back to people, when you’re down like that you don’t want to ask for help, and this is my way of saying here you go.”

If you are in need, you can get your vegetable plant Saturday, April 30 at the Vigo County Fairgrounds. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Master Gardeners will be on hand to help teach people about the plants and how to take care of them.