More than a dozen wooden garden beds were installed June 30 and were planted June 3 at the site that is home to another school garden started through the Transform Wisconsin grant received by the Tomah, Sparta and Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton school districts.
“It is good to see a renewed interest in gardening within our schools and community. This latest project greatly expands our ability to expose students to the many benefits of vegetable gardening, and we are hopeful that this will create a lifelong impact,” Superintendent John Hendricks said.
Food grown in the garden at Sparta High School will be used by the Sparta Area School District Nutrition Program, families, individuals and local food pantries. Other school garden sites in Monroe County include Southside Elementary in Sparta, Lemonweir Elementary in Tomah, and at the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton schools.
“This is a great opportunity for increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption and providing education to our students and community,” said Autumn Grooms, project coordinator for the Transform Wisconsin Grant. “Students have been actively involved in the project, and the produce will be served on the lunch line and available for those who help during the summer months.”
Students from Joel Frazee’s woods classes at Sparta High School built and installed garden beds while Agriculture Teacher Eric Follendorf and his students started plants in the greenhouse and helped plant the garden.
“The expertise of Mr. Frazee and Mr. Follendorf is very much appreciated. Their efforts have helped to make this project possible,” Grooms said.
The school garden expansion to Sparta High School will allow for an abundance of fresh, local produce on Sparta Area School District lunch lines when students return to school in the fall. “With the help of our high school students, this project is allowing kids to grow fresh, local produce for their peers and community,” said Cindy Thesing, nutrition services supervisor.
For information on how you can get involved in this or other projects through Monroe County Schools on the Go, contact Grooms at firstname.lastname@example.org.