Restoring our community gardens


“It takes a village to raise a child” is an old African proverb that rings true to most everyone who knows children, although, most of us have never visited Africa and don’t truly understand the inner workings of a village.  Restoration Community Gardens, a Texas-AgriLife Extension Service non-profit group is a local organization striving to do their part in the community.

Restoration Community Gardens is  at 300 W. School Street in Madisonville, within the County Extension office for Madison County.  The organization was formed in 2012, and they have been plugging away at seeing their vision become reality ever since.

“It’s so exciting to see the possibilities of finally having the old gym cleared out and being able to utilize it.  It feels like things are coming together for the kids.  We still have a lot of hoops to jump through, but since 2012 we’ve been growing.  We’ve had more volunteers, raised awareness and are really growing up in our programs,” says Leslie Lazenby, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Program Assistant and Coordinator.

The objective of Restoration Community Gardens is to be a community development program that uses sustainable agriculture to transform the lives of families and increase the access to healthy food.

“We are a group of volunteers, whose goal is to introduce these children to a healthy lifestyle and to broaden their understanding of agriculture,” says Marguerite Lohman, Board President.

It’s their desire to see their programs create paid internships for youth, to foster a love of agriculture, and to assist parents in teaching leadership, career building, and life skills to pass on to generations to come.

The group’s main summer program focus is Fun Fridays.  This is a two-hour directed program, free of charge, for children ages four to eighteen, every Friday beginning on June 23, 2017, from 9:45 a.m. until noon.  Experts in their field guide children in two or three lessons per session.  Each session covers topics from personal health and hygiene, nutrition, cultivating the arts, propagation, beekeeping, exercise, archery, first aid, dairy farming, Aquaponics and much more.

A new outreach offered this year, in conjunction with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is a meal program, Kid’s Café, provided by the Brazos Valley Food Bank.  Free lunches will be offered daily, from 11a.m. until noon, for all children ages one to 18.

For more information about programs, volunteering or how to donate to Restoration Community Gardens, contact Leslie Lazenby at (936) 348-2234 or Marguerite Lohman, Board President, at (832)-326-3790.