Alyssa Lovell’s Rhode Island Red chicken took the highest price of $25 at Saturday’s Chick Chain auction at the Cane Creek Community Gardens.
Alyssa got into the chicken-raising business thanks to the Calhoun County 4-H Chick Chain program. Elementary students receive 10 chicks in early May after taking classes on handling, feeding and caring for the birds.
They raise the birds and each select two chickens to be shown and auctioned off at Fall Fest, held on the third Saturday in September.
The event also includes a cakewalk, a baked goods sale and country store, and the profits from all of them go toward running and equipping Cane Creek Community Gardens throughout the year.
Alyssa, a sixth-grader at Wellborn Elementary, said she’d never handled chickens before the 4-H program, but she said enjoyed learning about and caring for the birds.
“We’ve got eight more at home that we’re going to keep,” she said.
Saturday marked the 11th annual Fall Fest at the Community Gardens, and the seventh for Master Gardener Janet Evans.
The Master Gardener program is an educational project offered through cooperative extensions systems. It trains volunteers who provide their expertise in horticulture efforts in their communities.
Evans said the work is often hard, but rewarding, especially in passing on acquired knowledge.
“We work hard, but it’s an enjoyable working hard,” she said. “I’m a retired biology teacher, so I teach the plant physiology class, and I love doing it.”
Evans said local Master Gardeners plan and piece together Fall Fest, making sure the grounds are tidy, tables are set and vendors have what they need for the event.
Calhoun County residents are welcome to grow vegetables in the garden by calling the cooperative extension office and having their name put on the list. Evans said locals can become more involved by completing the Master Gardeners coursework. She said applications are due at the end of October with classes beginning mid-January.
The Calhoun Cooperative Extension office can be contacted at 256-237-1621.