Here and now in Lunenburg County

Published 8:46 am Friday, October 23, 2015

I’ve always been fond of the expression “I wonder as I wander.” I stole it from the great writer Langston Hughes, of course. But it has always summed up my life in journalism, especially the years I’ve spent covering Southside and Central Virginia. It’s hard to believe I’ve spent now nearly half of my life in this region.

Being back in journalism, I’ve been spending time in, and writing about, Lunenburg. What has changed since the last time I covered the county on a regular basis almost a decade ago? Nothing and everything.

The plants that were once the economic piston of this region are still silent. The other night, I drove past the old button plant. I remember visiting it long ago. I can’t even remember what I wrote about it. What I do remember is that I was given a box full of assorted buttons, which I still have and use. As I drove through Victoria, some of the places I used to stop for a drink and some cookies are now closed, though new stores have opened.

I went to the school board meeting last week. There was a presentation on the creation of a robotics team and the attraction it could be to potential businesses. That’s standard and not surprising. Businesses have always valued and factored in the strength of the local school system.

Even if it’s not the basis of its workforce (and as more and more education is demanded for better paying jobs, that is less and less the case), their workforce or whomever they end up basing in that community, does care. Hey, every parent wants their child in a good school system.

But then there was a presentation on planting a garden at Kenbridge Elementary School, and how that garden could become part of the school system’s overall effort to address obesity in the community and promote healthy eating — not just among the children, but their parents.

That struck me as something new. Obesity is a national problem, which means it is also a local problem.

But for a long time, schools were expected to “stay in their lane” and focus on the children. That, however, has always been a disingenuous view. Those children bring their home life to school as much as they take school work home. So why shouldn’t the school system promote healthy eating not just to the children, but to their parents?

It’s not a novel idea as much as it’s a good one.

JAMIE RUFF, is a staff reporter for K-VD. He can be reached at