Chiemeka Fevecque a Delray Beach Florida teen always had a budding interest in gardening at home with her grandmother. Her passion for tending and tilling blossomed when a community garden opened just two doors down from her house last summer.
At first, Chiemeka noted she helped out at the garden in exchange for community service hours that she needed as a school requirement. Then she was hooked and kept returning every Saturday.
So when other gardeners saw Chiemeka struggle to get to all the way around the raised garden bed to water and care for her vegetables, they knew there had to be a way to make her hobby more accessible.
That led to the gardening community creating a garden bed she could access easily. In anticipation of Veteran's Day gardeners and veterans who volunteered to build the special arrangement unveiled the project.
Chiemeka was born with a severe form of scoliosis, and in 2007, she developed a cyst on her spine developed by spinal fluid. Since then, she has used a wheelchair.
Gardener Jan Brookmire reached out to Randy Eady, a USAF veteran and design consultant who specializes in ADA therapeutic garden designs, to see what might be possible. A platform garden that would allow her to access her garden bed from all angles was developed and constructed by several veterans.
Folks from a local garden center then donated and installed additional paved areas to help make the garden accessible to people with mobility aids/assistive needs. This small community garden is also meant to encourage young gardeners to produce sustainable food through organic cultivation.
This pre-veteran's day weekend, with her arms elbow deep planting tomatoes, brussel sprouts and marigolds, Chiemeka easily placed plants in the dark, fresh soil.