BY DONNA COPELAND // The image of a seed cracking open in or- der to sprout is a powerful image for Tyler Campbell; it brings to mind how people feel in their darkest moments—like they are breaking apart. He likes to remind them that if the seed doesn’t break open, it never becomes what it is fully capable of. Humans and plants alike can go through a transformational process then flourish on the other side.
Tyler, the owner of Kettle Classic, is a believer in the power of gardening and how it can give hope to his community. He loves educating children, and people who have never gardened, how to grow food with just some soil, seeds, and attention. According to Tyler, there is nothing more rewarding than learning how to sustain yourself and then share it with your neighbors.
GROWING HOPE TO CLOSE THE GAP
He is inspired to help those with low income be able to take own- ership over providing food for their families while building valuable skills and community pride at the same time. Reducing the cost of groceries can help close the economic gap that exists for many Bedford County residents today. Everyone needs access to healthy fresh food and most people agree that home-grown fruits and vegetables taste better and are more nutritious.
Not only are gardens a feast for the body, they can also be a feast for the eyes with pollinator flower gardens to attract bees and wasps to help with production while looking lovely. Beautifying Bedford Coun- ty is important to Tyler, and planting a garden is an inexpensive and hands-on way to do that year after year. Perennial flowers will return for many years to come with a little weeding and attention each season.
According to Tyler, patience is a great lesson of gardening and in life. You need to do your part to make your garden a suc- cess but there are many times you need to step back and wait for the next step. It takes time for that seed to sprout and grow be- fore it produces any fruit. Appreciating each phase of the grow- ing cycle can help teach young gardeners to practice patience and diligence.
Tyler was once a young apprentice who enthusiastically harvested a watermelon for his grandmother, Dorothy Campbell. She wasn’t quite as thrilled as he was since he had picked it when it still needed many more days to grow and then ripen before harvesting. His grandmother has been an inspiration in his gardening efforts which officially began in 2014. She helps him, even in her 80s, to grow on approximately half an acre of her farm. Tyler’s grandfather, Roy Campbell Jr, passed away in April 2021, just about a month shy of his 96th birthday. It has been a tough adjustment for them both but his grandmother takes her responsibility seriously of educating Tyler to grow the best garden.
In addition to his grandmother’s mentorship Tyler has also completed the educational requirements to become a Master Gardener. He is in the process of finishing his volunteer hours before realizing his dream of becoming a Certified Master Gardener. -GN