June 17, 2018
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Woodland student garden featured at lunch

Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN
Krysta McLaughlin examines the roots of a cucumber plant before planting it last June in the Woodland Community Garden. The Woodland Community School hosted a Harvest Lunch this week to share the crop with students and local residents. PHOTO BY NATALIE BAZINET/AROOSTOOK REPUBLICAN
By Natalie Bazinet Aroostook Republican, Special to the BDN

WOODLAND, Maine — On Tuesday, the Woodland Community School hosted a Harvest Lunch serving a delicious meal featuring vegetables planted by the students in June in the Woodland Community Garden.

“It’s a school community garden, and it’s part of working toward embracing the whole farm-to-school effort of having kids make the connection of how their food is grown and where it comes from, which has been an ongoing national push for school gardens and gardening,” said School Union 122 School Health Coordinator Colette Thompson, who coordinated the school and community gardens at schools in Woodland and New Sweden.

Youths are notorious for not eating their vegetables, but anti-veggie sentiments haven’t been able to take root at the school.

“Kids love the vegetables from the garden,” said Woodland Food Services Manager Carrie Hewitt.

Hewitt has been stocking the school’s salad bar with freshly picked garden produce all fall, but vegetables from the community garden dominated the menu on Tuesday during the school’s annual Community Harvest Lunch. Parents and community members started preparing the harvest feast on Monday as they peeled and prepped the garden veggies.

The Woodland Community Garden was planted in June when school was still in session. Each student was given the opportunity to plant a piece of the garden during school hours. Roughly once a week, parents and community members met to tend the garden and care for whatever took root.

“What’s nice is that the kids really like to come out to the garden,” Thompson said during the planning back in June. “Some of the kids are really connected to gardening and some kids are not; even though this is an agricultural area, some kids just don’t have that garden connection or they only know mono-crops, and they like working with all the plants that make up the regular old vegetable garden.”

With vegetables still ripening in the garden, the students will be reaping and eating the rewards of their labor for a while longer.

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