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Published October 15, 2010, 12:00 AM

Kids dig in dirt for lesson

Garden plot becomes classroom
Call it a garden variety win-win. Start with a bunch of enthusiastic students from Madison Elementary and Holy Spirit Elementary schools in Fargo and a garden plot near Yunker Farm in north Fargo.

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

Call it a garden variety win-win.

Start with a bunch of enthusiastic students from Madison Elementary and Holy Spirit Elementary schools in Fargo and a garden plot near Yunker Farm in north Fargo.

Add seeds – including beans, corn, tomato, squash – as well as water and sunshine.

Pick weeds, and otherwise tend the seedlings, then wait to see the green shoots grow to become vegetables.

The garden project’s sponsors called the effort “Seeds of Opportunity.”

The idea was to teach elementary students something about how vegetables make their way to the dining-room table.

The project had backing from several sponsors, including North Dakota State University Extension, which provided six seed varieties as well as expertise and a grant of $630.

The high point came at harvest.

“The kids were so excited,” said Todd Weinmann, a Cass County Extension horticulturist who was involved in the project. “They ran from one area to the next discovering things – ‘Look, we’ve got beans!’ ”

When the students had picked the garden, the bounty included a hundred pounds of vegetables donated to the Great Plains Food Pantry under the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Hunger Free Gardens initiative.

The rest of the harvest was divided among families in the Madison Elementary neighborhood near NDSU, said Gail Bakko, a board member of the Northern Plains Botanical Garden Society, which provided space for the garden, which measured 10 feet by 75 feet.

Through the course of the summer, 18 students from Cheryl Bombenger’s third-grade class at Holy Spirit and summer school students in grades one through five from Ashly Bombenger’s (Cheryl’s daughter) Madison class took part in the project, Bakko said.

“They enjoyed getting their hands dirty and seeing things grow,” she added. “We plan to do it again next year.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

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