New student-run community garden at Northside/Coulee Montessori
LA CROSSE, Wis., (April 26, 2021) – Northside Elementary/Coulee Montessori students, the Logan Northside Neighborhood Association, and the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration joined forces to seed a legacy of learning and share the benefits of healthy living with the creation of a new school garden.
These relationships and this garden began to develop when the reality of food insecurity was identified in La Crosse’s northside neighborhoods. Teachers, parents, social workers, the University of Wisconsin Extension Program, La Crosse Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, the FSPA and many others came together to troubleshoot and ultimately create a blueprint for growing not only fresh produce but a heritage of community, food security, and sustainability while caring for the hungry and the planet.
“We live in a bit of a food desert here on the northside,” Tamra Dickinson, member of the Logan Northside Neighborhood Association. “This project is so important to me because I’m really excited that our neighbors will have this space that is within walking distance. I think people will be amazed by just how much healthy food you can grow in a four by six foot plot in your own yard.”
In the garden, Northside Elementary/Coulee Montessori students from each grade level will plant, grow, and harvest the bounty and enjoy the fruits of their labor with their families while learning on many levels about horticulture, nutrition, healthy lifestyles and sustainable gardening practices. And FSPA will carry out their initiative called Seeding a Legacy, investing the funds received from the transaction with Mayo Clinic into collaboration into making something good happen in the La Crosse community.
“This garden will be another way for us to bring classrooms outdoors and bring nature to our kids allowing them to learn how nutritious food is grown, harvested, and prepared,” said Beth Hartung, Community School Coordinator of Northside Elementary/Coulee Montessori. “The whole goal of this project is to share with our families and school neighbors that this is a small scale thing they can do in their own yard at home that will have big positive benefits. Each grade level will have their own garden to choose what they want to grow and take care of.”
In addition to the garden at Northside Elementary School, two others will be funded by FSPA and planted by students and the neighborhood association at sites located at: Logan High School and North Community Library.