To look at Russell King, M.D., a board-certified family physician with Providence Medical Group-Family Medical Group, you might think he’s better suited to golfing than gardening, but you’d be wrong. Dr. King, along with members of the Village West Rotary Club, friends, family and co-workers, has taken on a community garden project that’s helping feed those in need in Wyandotte County.

“Last year Cross-Lines Community Outreach spoke to our Village West Rotary Club about their services for the needy,” Dr. King explains. “Our club motto is ‘Service above Self’ so we decided to plant a community garden in the vacant lot next to Family Medical Group at 8101 Parallel Parkway.”

The lot was cleared and made ready for planting by a local scout earning his Eagle Award. “Our first year for the garden was 2014, and we harvested 1,500 pounds of food that we donated to Cross-Lines for their food pantry.”

This year, Dr. King and the other volunteers have planted potatoes, onions, okra, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, carrots, radishes, lettuce, green beans, cucumbers, cantaloupe, red peppers, cabbage, corn and herbs. “Though we haven’t had to water much this year, weed control has been a challenge,” Dr. King says. “We’ve had a slower start, but the garden is really starting to produce now.”

Because the garden is located next to the medical practice, Dr. King says patients often are curious. “They see the garden, and I think it helps them consider their own diet choices and how they could eat better,” he said. And Dr. King is finding gardening good exercise. “Planting, weeding and harvesting the vegetables is a great workout.”

A native of Wyandotte County, Dr. King has practiced medicine here for the past 23 years, caring for all ages from infants to older adults.