An inquisitive mind and a love for nature transformed one adolescent’s personality from shy to confident.
Janya Green, a 13-year-old student attending Worth County Middle School, allowed 4-H and her love for agriculture to be a catalyst for change.
Janya, who spent many summers with her grandfather on the family farm, always showed an interest in plants.
“I like the work. I love nature, I love being outside. It’s the best thing to me. My grandfather started me off this way,” Janya said.
Linda Green, Janya’s mother, describes Janya as a shy child who was smart and curious growing up. “She’s always wanted to know how stuff grows,” Green said. As a result, Green thought the 4-H Club would be a great fit for Janya.
Being no stranger to the farm, Janya began participating in her local 4-H Club. Her passion for plants and agriculture caught the attention of Fort Valley State University (FVSU) 4-H Club coordinator and community garden facilitator, Sam White, in Worth County.
“She spent so much time out here, (the garden) and understood the technical side of growing, particularly the aeroponic towers,” White said. For this reason, White appointed Janya farm manager of the Village Community Garden in 2016.
As farm manager, Janya is available to share technical information about the 10 aeroponic towers located at the Village Community Garden. She also assists with food give-a-ways and teaches small children about agriculture.
“I conduct tours for people who want to learn about aeroponics, the garden, or who want to learn more about where their food comes from. Sometimes when I get out of school, I come out here and work,” Janya said. The eighth-grade farm manager said the skills she’s learned in 4-H helped her become confident.
“Stand your ground, never give up, and keep your head up high,” Janya said referencing the self-esteem and character-building qualities instilled in her through 4-H.
She also mentioned how 4-H has enlightened her about agriculture and its possibilities.
“4-H has prepared me in many ways. It’s really taught me things that I didn’t know about farming, and taught me different ways to do things that include farming and agriculture,” Janya said.
In addition to her farm manager duties, the Sylvester native is a straight A student who balances her academics and free time.
To maintain her farm manager duties, Janya keeps a tight schedule, but manages to visit every day after school. Janya said being at the garden, educating the community and youth about agriculture provides her a sense of pride.
“It gives me a warm feeling on the inside because I know I’m helping other people to be healthier and to feel appreciated, and they know they can come to the garden and get something to eat,” Janya said.
To learn more about the work of Janya or the Village Community Garden in Sylvester, visit the 4-H Jump Off Steaam Charter, FVSU Extension, Sylvester, GA Facebook page: http://ow.ly/rfK630acszc.