Man hopes to change Charleston, WV one green bean at a time - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Man hopes to change Charleston, WV one green bean at a time

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Tom Tolliver tends one of his gardens. Tom Tolliver tends one of his gardens.

In a community that is no stranger to crime, one man is fighting back. Tom Tolliver said he is planning to take back the west side of Charleston, WV one green bean at a time. 

Tolliver is 80-years-old. He has traveled the world helping people. But he has given up that work to focus his attention on gardening.

"This is mustard and these are turnips," Tolliver said as he walked through one of the three gardens he has near Patrick Street.

"I do this because my heart is on the west side," he said.

He builds raised beds from scratch and grows a little bit of everything. What he harvests he gives to people in need.

"The more people that help me the more I can do," Tolliver said.

He said the work he does is about more than putting food on a table. He said he wants to nurture a sense of community.

"All of the work that has been done over here has been some good work," Tolliver said, about other efforts to fight crime on the west side. "We just need more of the people to get involved."

Eventually he hopes to not just grow food to giveaway. He wants to rent raised beds to families so that they can grow their own gardens. He believes it will be a good opportunity to share some of the joy he feels every time he puts his hands in the dirt.

"I can come down here and forget about my bills, my car payment, my house payment and just keep working," Tolliver said. "I am going to tell other people, if you have problems come and take it out on my soil here."

Tolliver is hoping to convince the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority to purchase the land where one of his gardens is growing so that he can expand the project.

The gardens he has now are on property donated for that use.