Tabor City children plant yams for upcoming festival

Under the direction of Lisa Yemma, the fledgling yam farmers mix their dirt prior to planting their yams.
Under the direction of Lisa Yemma, the fledgling yam farmers mix their dirt prior to planting their yams.

A children’s yam planting program took place Monday at the Tabor City Library. 

The program was a prelude for this year’s Tabor City Yam Festival, set for October. The theme this year is “A Blast from the Past,” marking the 50th year anniversary for the Yam Festival.

Rachel Todd and Cynthia Nelson hosted the event, along with the Yam Man himself, Tiger “Tater” Lovett; science educator and farmer Lisa Yemma; and Cooperative Extension Director Dalton Dockery, who helped the kids get their hands dirty. 

“Tater” Lovett and Dalton Dockery examine some of the yam seedlings.

Each child received a blue bucket in preparation for the event. Soil was then poured into a small wading pool, and the kids gathered around for a lesson from Lisa Yemma and Dalton Dockery in how to care for and grow yams. There was laughter and lots of small dirty hands as they filled their buckets with the rich soil and planted their produce. 

 “This was just a good way to bring the community’s children together,” Lovett said, as he stood by in his signature hat and denim overalls to help fill buckets full of soil for planting. 

Each child filled his or her own bucket with rich planting soil.

Rachel Todd said there will be a first prize winner chosen at the Yam Festival this fall. Those who take the best care of their yams are to bring the best produce to the Tabor City Library, where the yams will be judged on Oct. 15. The first place winner will receive $25, and all the children will receive a participation ribbon. 

The kids were encouraged to be ready to bring their carefully-nurtured produce to be judged at the golden anniversary of the Yam Festival in October.

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