The founder of Cities & Shovels, Karen Latsbaugh, started out years ago as an assistant director of the Charleston Area Children’s Garden project. This involved repurposing vacant lots throughout the city of Charleston into community gardens focused on engaging kids throughout the neighborhoods to explore and learn about gardens, growing produce, and making good food choices. Eventually Karen became a classroom teacher with the hopes of eventually teaching in an outdoor environment. She recently made that happen by forming Cities & Shovels to provide outdoor classes at schools, community organizations and personal residences throughout the Lowcountry.
Through her programs and projects, she gets to witness the strong connections that her students and families make to the process of gardening, getting outdoors, and learning what nature provides.
We’re always happy to be supporting Louie’s Kids as they continue to help more families and kids connect with a healthier, active lifestyle. One of our favorite components of their various programs are the family workouts and how the workouts are are tied to reaching the goal of participating in local races. The Louie’s Kids Race Club is now gearing up for the race of all local races, the Cooper River Bridge Run on April 1st.
Families can participate in Louie’s Kids workouts on Monday and Wednesday evening, at Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park under the Ravenel Bridge.
Years ago, my wife got me hooked on the benefits of gardens when she would drag me out to vacant lots on Saturday mornings, all during her time working with the Charleston Area Children’s Garden Project. Initially, it was nice spending time with my wife and young daughter, but it really wasn’t a weekend jumpstarter I put on the calendar. It was up and out early to meet a few strangers trying to get something to grow on vacant land peppered with weeds and rocks.
Then, after a week or two, it became the highlight of kicking off my weekend. I got to meet and work alongside great people who cared deeply about their neighborhoods and community. Children jumped in so we can plant, water, till, weed and make these gardens a source of healthy produce and pride. Good recipes were shared, and though I still can’t make okra go down, meals sourced from these gardens remain some of the most memorable.
Then there is Ron Finley in “South Los Angeles”. Probably one of the best Ted Talks out there, especially on this subject. Like most work that transforms and makes a difference, it isn’t about meetings and strategic studies, but about people with a vision and a bit of an attitude out there doing something. It can be people who revitalize old buildings, start businesses, mentor kids, or just someone who picks up a shovel and starts to plant some shit.