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Giving Garden taking shape at BHS

It’s just a patch of black dirt right now, a place where you might think the sod needs to be replaced. But the grassless patch is special both because of the work students have and will put into it and for the food that will eventually come out of it.

Student volunteers Jake Teske (left) and Peter Brinkmann work on clearing sod from the BHS Giving Garden.

The Burnsville High School Giving Garden is taking shape on the west end of the school’s campus thanks to student volunteers and Garden Club advisors Matt Deutsch, a language arts teacher, and Bri Ostoff, youth service coordinator. The group has cleared the space of grass and will be building a fence soon. The idea for a Giving Garden took shape more than a year ago at TEDxBurnsville, an event that challenged attendees to think differently about education and school-related issues.

“Teaching people about how to grow their own food is part of my personal mission,” Deutsch said. “I figure this is a great way to get students involved in learning how to grow their own food and help out with the need at the food shelf.”

The goal next year is to harvest 1,000 pounds of produce for donation to 360 Communities and perhaps use some in the school cafeteria. The garden could also serve as a demo garden for class projects. 

Garden Club members will help with the garden and learn about gardening, botany, and sustainability through service, projects, speakers and field trips.

Response from students has been fairly good, with dozens helping during a Day of Service event this fall and another dozen pitching in on an early October work session after school. But Deutsch says the group is always looking for more help and he’s hoping to get another work day on the calendar soon.

In addition to student helpers, the Garden Club is continuing to reach out to community partners. Already buoyed by a grant from Foundation 191 and a mulch donation from Dakotah Roots, more support will still be needed.

“[The Dakotah Roots donation] is especially cool because it closes the loop by bringing back out cafeteria scraps to help grow more food,” said Deutsch. “We could really use help with funding and donations of garden equipment or time.”

To help the Burnsville High School Giving Garden, contact Matt Deutsch at

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 15:52