While the growing season is coming to an end, the community garden experience is not.
It began with the seeds of thought last winter. Two Doyle Elementary sixth-graders wanted to start a garden to grow food for those in need. Over the course of several months, their Gardening to Give project blossomed and was not only successful, it grew to include other students, summer campers and community groups.
Healthy, vigorous plants grew from the smallest seeds and seedlings planted in May by Doyle teacher Gay McPhee's Gardening to Give students. With a grant from CB Cares Educational Foundation and beds constructed for an Eagle Scout project, the garden took shape.
The garden thrived throughout the summer, tended by some of the original students as well as summer campers and associates from Children's Village.
Even after graduating from sixth grade, three of the original 17 Doyle students continued to check in at the garden weekly over the summer.
"It's those children who are so inspired to follow through with the good work that we began, that will continue to help our community through acts of service, that make me so very proud!" said Gay.
She continued: "There were many donations sent to varioussites, and they were thankfully received. Vegetables were available to the families of Children's Village, and probably the best part was that Children's Village was inspired to have a unit on farming/growing vegetables in the school, to promote raising and eating fresh vegetables."
Teri Windisch, director of Children's Village, donated fresh produce to A Woman's Place, which operates an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. A farmer's market in the Doylestown Hospital cafeteria in August generated more funds to help future gardens grow.
Teri reported earlier this month that lettuce and radishes were still coming in, and there were sweet potatoes to harvest.Teachers planted mums to fill in the empty beds for the fall.
Doylestown Health will continue to help sustain and hopefully expand the gardens next year.
"We will continue to support the community garden and all it represents," said Barbara Hebel, Vice President, HR. "We are extremely pleased with how the students from Doyle Elementary followed through on their commitment to help those in need and promote wellness by making fresh fruits and vegetables available to local families. The garden is a symbol of the collaboration we enjoy with our community, our local schools and organizations like the CB Cares Educational Foundation."
Gay is hoping to continue the tradition with this year's crop of students.
"I intend to do the garden club again this spring," she said. "It was so exciting and rewarding, and exhilarating to see the sixth graders get so committed and involved in a worthwhile service project!"
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