Inverness kids introduced to gardening early

By BRYAN DAVIS PUBLISHER,

Inverness Elementary is growing young minds, and those young students are growing vegetables.

Students have been maintaining a school garden thanks to two grants that were secured after Inverness Elementary kindergarten and first grade teacher Lindsay Massey applied for them this past year.

Massey said she has been involved with Sunflower County 4-H most of her life, and she was talking to Sunflower County Extension Agent Ann Twiner about new opportunities when the garden concept came up.

“We knew that she had some things that she could help bring to our school,” Massey said.

Twiner helped her apply for the Growing School Lunch Garden Grant and the Farm to Table School Grant, both $500 each.

“After the grants were awarded, we would work with the vendors to get the supplies ordered and delivered to the school,” Twiner said. “Also, the Extension has a volunteer group called Master Gardeners. This group goes through training provided by MSU Extension Specialists and in return they give 20 hours of volunteer services a year.

Twiner said Roger Yant, a Master Gardener from Inverness assisted Massey and the other volunteers in building the raised beds, and he helped the students when the time to plant came along. 

Massey said the experience has been great for the kids, both in a practical sense and in an academic way.

“It makes a difference,” she said.

Massey said that the kids are taught about plants from the books, but this way, they are able to see them when they are tiny seeds and nurture them until they are fully grown.

Massey said that the project also had an impact on the morale of the kids.

“Their moods were better,” she said. “They were excited about it.”

Twiner said that these types of programs are becoming more important as even kids in rural settings like Inverness are becoming more detached from where their food comes from.

“Even though we live in a rural area, the youth aren’t exposed to gardening, like in years past,” she said. “Years ago most families had a home garden and the young people worked and learned how to grow their own food. It’s not that way anymore and we don’t want the youth to lose out on knowing how to grow their own food.”

Massey said that she plans to reapply for the grants again for next year. She hopes to continue this program for years to come.

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