Boys Scouts unveil Coronavirus Victory Gardens at Akridge Reservation

The Del-Mar-Va Boy Scouts Council is offering plots to grow vegetables at its Coronavirus Victory Gardens at the Akridge Scout Reservation in south Dover. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — The Del-Mar-Va Council of the Boy Scouts of America has found there is literally “room to grow” at the Akridge Scout Reservation.

That is why they are offering garden plots — named the Coronavirus Victory Gardens — at the Akridge Scout Reservation at 1910 Baden Powell Way, just south of Dover, for individuals and families in Kent County to come and grow their own vegetables.

“The Akridge property is somewhat unique in the scouting world because of its location in a relatively urban neighborhood,” said J. Ray Teat, director of special projects for the Del-Mar-Va Council of the Boy Scouts. “We are pleased to be able to offer these garden plots to the citizens of Kent County, both from within our scouting community and from surrounding neighborhoods.”

The Boy Scouts are offering plots that are 10-foot by 20-foot in size through a lottery system. The plots cost $25 per growing season, which runs from April 1 through the end of November. Garden plots are separated from each other with 20-foot wide lanes to maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 11 of the 24 plots have already been leased, but the Boy Scouts said there is plenty of room to grow in future years.

Efforts by the Del-Mar-Va Council are intended to make the Akridge property available to neighbors, as well as scouting families.

“We view it as an opportunity to help make families more self-sufficient in the current atmosphere of economic and food supply chain uncertainty,” Mr. Teat said. “Today we are in a war against the coronavirus and the Boy Scouts are here once again to promote family self-reliance.”

More than a decade ago, Kent County Levy Court and the Del-Mar-Va Council of the Boy Scouts of America entered into an agreement to purchase three parcels from the Kesselring Family, which would be used for preserving the property for recreational and conservation uses — what eventually turned into the Akridge Scout Reservation.

The Delaware Department of Transportation and the Kent Conservation District were also involved in the agreement and work in concert with Kent County with respect to effectively serve the property in each one’s respective area.

“The best ideas in government have always stemmed from great partnerships,” said Levy Court Commissioner Jody Sweeney. “This partnership to develop the Kesselring Farm into a great location for kids of all ages and their families is about to take a huge leap forward in showing the concern for families from the Boy Scouts and Levy Court during these troubling times.”

The Coronavirus Victory Gardens in Dover pays homage to Boy Scout’s activities back in the World War II era.

Labor and transportation shortages in the 1940s due to WW II made it hard to move fruits and vegetables to market. During this time nearly 20 million Americans, encouraged in part by the Boy Scouts of America, planted their own Victory Gardens to supplement home grocery supplies.

They planted gardens in backyards, empty lots and even city rooftops. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives.

The Coronavirus Victory Gardens in Dover is to see its fair share of teamwork.

Parking, tools, water, seeds and plants are all provided by the Del-Mar-Va Council. A team of gardening educators, led by Mike McGrath, retired chief of planning for the Delaware Department of Agriculture, in conjunction with agriculture extension agents from the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, will assist with online instruction, site visits, and advice by email, for participating families.

Thus far, the scouts have received commitments for seed and plants from Clark Seed in Kenton, Willey Farms in Smyrna and Rose Valley Greenhouse in Dover. Other donations will not get turned away from anyone wanting to donate. To find out more about how one can donate or for more information, contact the Del-Mar-Va Council by email at info@dmvc.org.

Anyone interested in growing their own tomatoes, radishes or squash to supplement their home groceries — and provide a great outdoor family activity — visit the Coronavirus Victory Gardens webpage at www.dmvc.org/victorygardens or email Adrienne Wrona at awrona@dmvc.org to get an application.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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