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Neighbors helping neighbors through Garden & Seeds program



DSC_0542Starling Douglas is a man who works hard to take care of his family and his neighbors, and makes no excuses for what life throws at him.

He learned from his father how to grow a garden, and he lives by the creed that if you are willing to help others that you see in need, others will step up to help you when you face hard times as well.

“I like helping people,” he said. “I’m just an ole country man, born and raised. Neighbors are supposed to help neighbors and that’s what I do. The Good Lord has always blessed me and He would want me to help other people.”

Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) started the Garden & Seeds program back in the 1980s, then known as Small Farms & Gardens. CAP recognized that hunger is a real issue for our state in many regions. This program provides seeds, seedlings, and gardening supplies to participants in Martin, Floyd, Johnson, Jackson, McCreary, and Rockcastle counties.

“I love this program,” said Simone Dunphy, a long-term volunteer with CAP. “We bought plants from the greenhouse at McCreary County High School. Therefore, we get to buy local and support local initiatives, and then provide those plants to local residents who can grow healthy, nutritious food for their families and help their neighbors. It’s a win-win-win.”

Douglas sees it as a win-win-win also. He saves his seeds from one year to the next so that he can start next year’s garden. He used the seeds and seedlings from CAP to expand his one garden to two. When his tomato plants grew, he provided enough plants back to CAP so that 15 additional families were helped.

“Gardening is hard work. It takes a lot of patience,” said Douglas who has survived cancer, a broken neck, and a broken back. “I like to serve others. And my Daddy taught us how to garden the old-fashioned way so that everything is naturally grown. I donate to people who need it.”

One place that is blessed by Douglas’s gardening each week is the Crossroads Café. They provide free meals to those in the community in need. Douglas’s donation of fresh produce makes a difference. In his garden he grows tomatoes, corn, squash, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes and potatoes.

“Mr. Douglas is a great example of why we have this program,” Dunphy added. “CAP provides him with supplies so we get to help him. He multiplies that and helps many others in his community.”

The Garden & Seeds program distributes seeds and seedlings near the end of April. To learn more about CAP programs, visit

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