Gardening Program for Gillette Students Hoping for Growth

(Gillette, Wyo.) Four years ago the Campbell County School District started receiving a yearly grant for serving fresh fruits and vegetables as a snack to elementary school students. This year CCSD's nutrition services supervisor, Bryan Young, is hoping to expand that to a gardening program for kids. "Junior Green Thumbs" launched this month, as part of a summer club the school district is offering for free to elementary students and their parents. The first meeting last Wednesday had a very small turnout, but Young is hoping that once the word gets out, more families will join up. And the bigger the program gets, the more veggies to go around. "Our plot isn't that big," Young told County 17. The group will have their own space in the greenhouses of the community garden at Gillette College. "My plan is, i'm going to offer to build more plots and raised beds and hopefully we can expand the program in years to come." The first family to attend Wednesday's meeting helped create a list of what they'd most like to grow in the club's first year. All the basic things that grow well in Wyoming.were suggested: radishes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, lettuce, tomatoes, and even ocra. "We got a pizza herb garden at home that they were really excited about," said Lisa Palazzari, who was there with her two boys. "When we saw the flyer for this we decided to join." Everything involved with gardening from the ground up -- planting seeds, watering, weeding, fertilizing, and harvesting -- will be covered. But the first step will happen later this month when the group goes around to area businesses to ask for help getting their garden started. The experience will culminate in a Farmer's Market, and beyond. "The stuff that we grow, we're going to create recipes to use," added Young. "We just want to build a foundation for healthy eating, and knowing where our food comes from." There's no need to bring any tools, just yourself (and maybe some sunscreen.) If you're interested in joining Junior Green Thumbs, contact Bryan Young at 307-682-2078 or #county17 #news