Local club to host gardening guru Jeneen Wiche

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By Deanna Godman

On Saturday at 11 a.m., the Spencer County Garden Club will host its first annual Gardens and Goodies luncheon, with guest speaker Jeneen Wiche.
The program will raise money for the Spencer County chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Tickets are $7 at the county extension office before the luncheon, and $8 at the door.
Last spring, Karen Patterson, the current club president, suggested hosting a charity event to raise money for Habitat. The club members liked the idea and formed a committee to oversee the details. Leslie Zoeller, who will become the club president in November, was in charge of the committee. The other members of the committee are Connie Young, Beth Meridith and Penny Burns.
“I felt like we as a club should do something for the community,” said Patterson. “The club took the suggestion and ran with it.”
Habitat for Humanity was chosen as the charity because Patterson knows several people involved in the organization and knows how hard they work to make the program a success. It also seemed like a good fit for the garden club, she said.
The luncheon will be at the Polk House at 117 W. Main St. Linda Street, a garden club member, and her husband, Scott, own the business.  The Streets are also heavily involved with Habitat.
Garden Club members are preparing the light lunch and desserts that will be served at the luncheon. The menu consists of ham or turkey sandwiches, a fruit cup and chips. All of the desserts will be homemade.
The plant sale will consist of plants that the members have raised in their own gardens. There will be information booths featuring worm composting, mushrooms and gourds. The highlight of the luncheon is the talk given by Wiche.
“Jeneen is a wonderful speaker,” said Zoeller. “She is a really nice and knowledgeable person.”
All of the door prizes were either donated by garden club members, or members of the community. The prizes include baskets of seeds, bulbs, garden tools and garden gloves.
The garden club toured Wiche’s farm in June, and enjoyed hearing her speak. The Gardens and Goodies committee asked her to speak at the event because she is well known in Spencer County through her weekly column, which appears in The Spencer Magnet and other newspapers throughout the state.
Wiche has a master’s degree in American Indian Studies and teaches the subject at the University of Louisville. She lives in Shelby County on a 20-acre farm called Swallow Trail with her husband, Andy Smart.
Wiche’s presentation is titled “Growing Together: Your Home, Your Garden, Your Food and Your Community.” One of the courses she teaches at the University of Louisville is Food and Body Politic, which traces the current industrial food system. Wiche believes that growing at least a little bit of food at home is an important way to participate in the health and wellness of people and communities.
“What Habitat does for the community can also be done in other ways,” said Wiche, explaining that she hopes to inspire people to grow some of their own food. She said that especially in rural areas that have a culture of farming it is possible for the community to foster a sense of responsibility for their food.
Wiche was happy to be invited to speak at the program.
“I love Spencer County people,” Wiche said. She connected with the Garden Club when they visited her farm, and said she could tell they were all “on the same page” regarding the importance people of having ownership over some portion of their food production.
The Garden Club is part of the Spencer County Homemakers Association, and organizers are looking forward to Saturday.
“I’m hoping we can make it an annual event,” said Zoeller.