Youth reap an education from school garden
"I found a big one!" shouts Carter Worden, 7, holding up a long green bean he plucked off a tall bean plant.
"Look at this one!" says Colby Schmid, 7.
This excitement is common as the plants in the Wadena-Deer Creek school garden are ripening, much to the delight of youth enrolled in the "Harvest Time at the School Garden" class sponsored by Wadena-Deer Creek-Bluffton Community Education. This is the second of two school gardening classes held this summer.
WDC Greenhouse Coordinator Ed Lewis teaches the class which is open to children in grades K-6 and meets twice a week for 45 minutes. The kids learn to care for the garden, pick the produce, participate in taste tasting, deliver the produce to the elementary kitchen and other fun activities.
"It's enjoyable to see the kids working and learning in the garden. The school garden provides great hands-on learning," said Lewis. "I also believe it motivates kids to eat and enjoy fruits and vegetables."
Earlier this summer, students enrolled in the first school gardening class were able to plant the seeds in the school garden and nurture the plants. Now, the plants are blossoming and ripening. They include: peas, green beans, radishes, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, squash, watermelon and strawberries.
The kids even learn to "weed" the garden -- one of the chores involved in gardening -- but a task they all seem to enjoy.
Recently, the best part of class for Colby Schmid was delivering the heaping container of fresh green beans to the WDC Elementary kitchen.
"I got to pick the beans that kids will eat. That's cool," he said.