A big garden project in a small South Dakota town is being planted for a second year.
Another planting season is underway for longtime gardener Larry Baysinger.
The Woonsocket man, who the locals call Soop, has been growing fruits and vegetables for more than 40 years.
“You name it, I’ve probably planted it,” gardener Larry “Soop” Baysinger said.
Some of the land he’s working on right now is in Lane, South Dakota.
There’s about 15 acres of garden that will all eventually be planted.
But the landowner who asked Soop to do this says the land is capable of doing much more than simply producing food.
“What’s our motivation for the garden? The garden has a positive energy,” Lane resident Kelly Jackson said.
Lane farmer Kelly Jackson bought the pieces of land a while ago, and one of them had some empty buildings on them, something that he believes can be breeding grounds for drug use, rodents, and more.
“My intention was cleaning this up,” Jackson said.
Longtime Lane resident Margaret Schmidt lives near the land.
She’s watched the transformation over the years.
“They were a mess. It’s just nice now to see them doing something good,” Lane resident Margaret Schmidt said.
“We’re kind of forgotten. This town used to have one of the biggest dance halls in the state. A lot of national, main name people played here. It was a gathering spot, but the people have gotten older. A lot of them have died off. This is rural America,” Jackson said.
But rural America is home, which is why he and Soop are growing some positivity.
“Well, I guess people like seeing things grow. I guess when they see things grow they see a town that might grow,” Baysinger said.
Jackson says he’s a strong supporter of Governor Kristi Noem’s anti-meth campaign.