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Ticonderoga — Affordable, fresh produce has been available in Ticonderoga this summer thanks to a Ticonderoga Girl Scout.

Becky Barber, an ambassador scout, became concerned about the affordability of fresh food earlier this year and developed a plan to address the issue as part of her scout Gold Award project. The Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouts.

Barber started a community garden this spring at the Ticonderoga First United Methodist Church, asking younger scouts and other children to assist her. The fruits of their labor has been sold at a “Creating Healthy Places/Youth Farmers Market” held each summer in conjunction with the Ticonderoga Farmers Market.

“I decided I wanted to address the need for a farmers market where affordable fresh fruit and vegetables can be purchased,” Barber said. “The issue is educating youth, families and the community on making healthy food choices and supporting the local produces and the farmers market.”

Barber feels most families in the community are on a limited budget and can’t afford to purchase healthy items, thus making poor food choices.

To make her project a reality, Barber worked with Matt Courtright, executive director of the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce; Meg Parker, Essex County Public Health/ Creating Healthy Places coordinator; local farmer Doug Nadeau and the Ticonderoga First United Methodist Church.

“I would like to thank Betty Rettig for donating some green beans to sell at the market,” Barber said. “Betty’s green beans were also grown in the Community Garden at the Methodist Church. Doug Nadeau of Nadeau’s Farm for his donation of time and plants. Meg Parker from Essex County Public Health for the donation of seeds, being a mentor, and helping out at the market each week in distributing information on healthy habits, healthy recipes and for the donation of the tent, banners, table clothes. Matt Courtright for being a mentor, helping with publicity of this project and for the donation of a table, paper, and pens needed for the operation of the market. Frances Malaney for donating baskets for use at the market.”

“This community garden adds more variety to the local farmers market and is more affordable for those who can’t afford to purchase fresh produce,” she said.

The youth market will be open for the final time this summer Saturday, Aug. 17, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Besides providing affordable, fresh fruits and vegetables, the project has been an educational tool for local youth.

“While helping in the garden they have learned to plant vegetables, how to market their produce and how to make healthy food choices,” Barber said of her young assistants. “The purpose of this project is to get area youth involved in the planting and running of the market to help educate them on where food begins and how it ends up on the table. These youth have learned the necessary planting skills, how to maintain a garden and how to sell the produce at the local market. In addition to these life skills, the youth have learned about healthy eating habits.”

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