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Hyden 16-year-old’s passion for gardening takes him to elected office

A teen and an adult wearing matching campaign shirts and holding campaign signs pose in front of a truck.
Laura Sizemore
Kentucky Department of Education
Logan Sizemore and his uncle, Junior, on election night.

When 16-year-old Logan Sizemore takes his place on the board of the Leslie County Soil and Water Conservation District in January, he’ll be one of the youngest Kentuckians ever to hold public office.

Sizemore, a sophomore at Leslie County High School, was the top vote-getter in the race for the area’s conservation district supervisor. He’ll serve along with six other members who are responsible for overseeing the protection of the area’s soil and water.

Sizemore said he was inspired to run for the position after developing a passion for gardening.

“It’s important to me as a gardener because keeping the soil preserved is going to give gardeners and farmers the best produce that they can get from the soil that they plant in,” Sizemore told LPM News.

Sizemore said he campaigned by talking to customers at his family’s auto shop, and going door to door in town. He was “nervous” about some people’s reaction to his young age, but it didn’t stop him.

Soil and water conservation district supervisors serve four-year terms. According to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office, it’s one of the few elected offices for which there is no minimum age requirement.

Sizemore started gardening with a 4-by-4 raised bed at his family’s home in Hyden when he was in middle school. By 2020, he was growing enough vegetables to supply some of the local restaurants with produce. Sizemore said he donated the food for free because he knew businesses were struggling with pandemic-related uncertainty and inflation.

Today, Sizemore has a half-acre plot where he grows pumpkins, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and other crops. His mother, Laura Sizemore, said last spring he planted three rows of red potatoes before changing into his tuxedo and heading to prom.

In his role as soil and water conservation supervisor, Sizemore said he wants to create more opportunities for young people to learn about agriculture, recycling and protecting the natural world.

“Us humans depend on it so much,” he said.

He wants to involve his classmates in collecting samples to learn about the quality of the county’s soil and drinking water.

In 2022 alone, the Hyden-Leslie Water District issued at least eight boil-water advisories due to water main breaks. Some rural Kentucky water utilities face infrastructure issues due to age and a lack of funding.

Even before officially taking office, Sizemore has already created change. As a result of the teen’s advocacy, Leslie County Schools is bringing back its Future Farmers of America program. Sizemore’s grandfather was a member of the agricultural education program in the 1950s.

His mother, Laura Sizemore, said she and her husband are “extremely proud” of their son.

“You just couldn’t ask for a better kid,” she said.

Ryan Van Velzer contributed to this report.

Support for this story was provided in part by theJewish Heritage Fund.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.