The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Hurley 5th graders harvest school garden


October 2, 2019

Tom LaVenture/Daily Globe

Fifth-grade student Camryn Gresham braces herself as classmates Destiny Clark, Brenden Aukee, Dylan Hippenbecker and Maddee Hewitt toss the potatoes they picked into the crate she is holding in the Hurley K-12 School garden on Tuesday. Their teacher, Laura Lund, in back, reminds the students not to bruise the vegetables they will be making into a meal.


HURLEY, Wis. - A group of Hurley K-12 School students were given permission to get their hands dirty on Tuesday as they harvested the section of the school garden they planted last spring.

Two classrooms of fourth-grade students planted potatoes, carrots and dill in the school garden at the end of the previous school term, when it was maintained over summer by the 4-H Club's "Green Team," said Deborah Leonard, the FoodWise Educator for Iron County UW-Extension. Now those same 44 students as two fifth-grade classes are picking the plants and making a meal with them, she said.

"Today we harvested the food while we talked about the boiled side dish with some seasonings they will make with it," Leonard said. "This is just to give them the education and knowledge about where their food comes from and how easy and fun it can be to enjoy the benefits of growing your own food."

The fifth-graders are taught by Laurie Lund and Kristin Kolesar, who both said the experience is valuable. It's a way to develop life-long skills about nutrition and growing, they said.

"The kids take ownership and will maybe grow some roots toward a healthier lifestyle," Lund said.

Leonard does a great job in the classroom in the spring teaching the kids about the value of real food versus processed foods, she said. Then in the fall they pick it up again with harvest and meal, she said.

"So it's nice to take those lessons and have a practical application where the kids actually plant something that grows and then harvest it and eventually eat the crops that they themselves grew," Lund said.

Kolesar said the garden is a wonderful opportunity for the kids to plant something that can grow over the summer and then harvest it at the beginning of a new school year. The kids also enjoy cooking it and eating it, she said.

"Hopefully, it encourages them to start gardens in their own homes with their families," Kolesar said.

Sawyer Peck, 10, of Hurley, said he enjoyed the experience.

"I think it's really awesome because carrots are my absolute favorite food," Peck said. "Everyone gets to pick them and it's lots of fun."

He would like to grow his own garden, he said. There is a little room for a garden in his yard, he said.

Samantha Svoke, 10, of Gile, said she enjoyed the garden as a shared class experience.

"It's nice to have everybody plant and all of us to be included in planting," Svoke said. "It's nice to harvest and eat them."

Svoke said she would also like to grown her own garden.

The seeds were provided by UW FoodWise program, she said. The potatoes were donated by the Taiga Farm in Ironwood, and other garden plants were donated by Lakes Flower Cabin in Wakefield, she said.

Over the summer Leonard works with the Hurley Kids Club and the 4-H Club's Green Team. The groups also planted and maintained the "Pizza Garden," which are triangular shaped planters in a circle to mimic a pizza pie, with rows of beans, peas, tomatoes and herbs. Other parts of the garden include lettuce varieties, kale, kohlrabi, and a pollination garden with various flowers, sunflowers a pollination feeding table as a water source for pollinating insects.

"Parents and students who belong to the Green Team have been very resourceful with the volunteer work," Leonard said. "The area master gardeners also provide ongoing garden maintenance."

The school garden is a fenced in area near the athletic fields with 15 raised planters that was built around 15 years ago, she said. The garden was designed as a hands-on activity to support curriculum to help students make good nutritional choices.

The garden was possible with the assistance of University of Wisconsin-Extension, which continues to provide resource education for Iron County and outlying areas, she said.


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