Archived Story

Ashby creates garden for school children [UPDATED]

Published 10:50am Tuesday, August 30, 2011 Updated 10:50am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ashby’s kindergarten, first- and second-grade students take pride in a garden located outside their classroom.

“From grade school through graduation, students have the opportunity to connect with growing food,” said Ashby ag instructor Dustin Steenblock. “From learning the science behind it, to actually growing and marketing produce, students have a very strong knowledge and connection to their food.”

He said it’s an opportunity that’s not available to most students in school districts the size of Ashby. The raised garden measures 30 feet by 36 feet. The garden consists of mostly produce, but there also are flowers on display.

Ashby Schools works in partnership with Fergus Falls-based

Communicating for Agriculture. The school benefits from the CA Scholarship and Education Foundation.

“We have a sustainable agriculture program here in Ashby,” said Steenblock, “and very good curriculum for the students.”

He said the CA Foundation has always been committed to ensuring that young people receive hands-on, real-world experience, in addition to classroom learning.

Steenblock, along with his students and CA staff, began the construction of a high tunnel to be used in the program. The high tunnel is a freestanding greenhouse that uses passive ventilation for air exchange and cooling. It will allow students to grow and market their products and explore extended and year-round production techniques.

“Programs like the one being implemented in the Ashby School are exactly what’s needed in rural America to get more young people involved in agriculture,” said CA President Wayne Nelson.

CA Foundation Director Ben Schierer said he hopes the Ashby school program can grow to involve not only the entire school system, but the entire Ashby community as well.

“I believe that this program has the potential to involve local producers and members of the community,” said Schierer. “The hope is that a community garden and other similar projects will be developed as a result.”

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