Lakeside opens “Labor of Love Community Garden” in Ryan Carter’s name
By Lori Bledsoe
For The Alpine Sun
Is there a better way to honor a life, than with life? In Lakeside, organizers of the Labor of Love Community Garden have dedicated a peaceful area with a bench to Ryan Carter’s memory. Ryan Carter died on January 16, 2012 trying to mediate a difficult situation between his friend, and another child.
Lillian Kiefer, who runs the garden, felt that Ryan’s story deserved more, and his memory is now in a living garden that gives hope and food to others. The Living Garden provides fruits and vegetables to food banks all over East County. Since the garden’s kick-off it has provided over 2,000 lbs. of nourishing food to the needy. This non-profit garden is affiliated with the Carter’s church, Foothills Christian Church in El Cajon.
Family and friends came to appreciate the picket fence that is decorated with colorful pails, to designate the Ryan Carter Memorial Garden along with a plaque that is engraved with his name hanging just above a serenity bench. Next to the bench is a smaller ornament that is painted with a sunflower and reads, “Love one another”, indicative of Ryan’s last actions, according to his mother, on the day he died.
Lisa Carter said in another interview, that her son, in trying to break up a fight “took the knife for that boy.”
The garden is an area that is 30 by 40 square feet, with six beds currently growing berries, and squash along with flowers such as sunflowers and snapdragons. There is also a pumpkin patch nearby. Even the children who were present at the celebration were very aware of each plant, and what would be growing and how it would be growing. During the celebration, green balloons were given to each attendant. The balloons filled the space, a happy reminder in living color and a true testament to this young man who touched so many hearts, to have his name attached to such a noble cause.
The family has also created memorial scholarships in Ryan’s name for his former school to help underprivileged families attend Foothills Chirstian Elementary. These applications can be found on-line if you search under Ryan Carter’s name and scholarship.