MKC donates to gardening program

Staff writer

After finding out Friday that the gardening bug, not termites, had bitten Superintendent John Fast recently, Goessel Elementary students learned at a school assembly that Mid-Kansas Cooperative selected their school garden program for a $500 grant award.

“A large portion of the donations we make go toward agriculture education, fighting hunger, and youth leadership programs,” Kerry Watson, MKC communications specialist said prior to the Goessel award assembly. “This gardening project hits two of those sections: teaching kids where food comes from and fighting hunger. We have heard they donate some of their excess garden produce each year to local food banks as well.”

Fast said the Goessel gardening project had been successful in past years.

“Students enjoy getting a chance to go out and work in the garden, and they also really like to eat what they produce,” he said. “Last year we had cantaloupe, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, and sweet potatoes. The cooks just kept extending our white potatoes by adding the yellow. It was very satisfying for the children to know they were eating what they produced.”

Sweet potatoes just might be a different color at the elementary school in 2013. The money donated by MKC will pay for the employment of the Goessel garden project’s new coordinator Pam Abrahams.

Abrahams, a Goessel native and mother of two young children, said she particularly likes trying new and different vegetables and plants in her garden at home.

Abrahams said it was important to her that children got the opportunity to grow their own food.

“My son, Sam, is 5, and already he knows he wants to be a farmer when he grows up,” she said. “He likes nothing more than to get out in the garden and dig in the dirt. I think all children should experience the joy and wonder of digging in dirt and watching seeds they have planted grow.”

Watson said Mid-Kansas Cooperative is a farmer and member-owned organization. The money used for donations comes from a budget fund put back for operating expenses each year.

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