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Giving Garden off to great season thanks to volunteers

Thanks to 70 volunteers, the Giving Garden at Burnsville High School had a productive day on April 25. Community members were invited to join students in preparing the garden for the growing season. Volunteers put up a fence, prepped the soil and built compost bins. They planted onions, rhubarb, peas, radishes, kale and lettuce.

Burnsville High School's Giving Garden was established last year to give students and community members an opportunity to learn how to grown their own food and provide for families in the community who don't have food security. The goal is to donate 1,000 pounds of food to 360 Communities by the end of the 2015 planting season and help with at least one meal in the school cafeteria in the fall.

Teacher Matt Deutsch said students are learning from their involvement in the garden. “By teaching students to grow their own vegetables, they can improve their health and the health of our whole community by donating vegetables to our local food shelf,” he said.

Students started the seeds and will track the progress toward reaching the goal. Additionally, to improve the soil quality of the garden plot and teach about sustainability, students will use the compost bins and thermometer to build optimal composting conditions and reduce dependency on the landfill. Finally, they will collect water in the rain barrel and learn about other ways to keep rainwater from becoming runoff.

“Being outside and active develops life-long healthy habits,” said Deutsch. “Growing our own vegetables creates healthy meal options and positive environmental impacts, and giving back to the community through the food shelf helps students realize the impact of their own volunteering time.”

"My life has been impacted by growing my own food so it is my goal to teach our community how easy it can be,” he said. “I hope everyone who volunteered on Saturday feels compelled to start a garden of their own."

Along with Deutsch, staff organizers are Lori Douglas, science teacher, and Bri Ostoff, community education youth service coordinator. They thank Foundation 191, Valley Natural Foods, Donorschoose.org, Dakotah Roots, Rush Creek Growers, and community members for supporting the Giving Garden.

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Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 07:27