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Getting Their Hands Dirty

Once they were all adequately protected from the sun with a healthy slathering of sunscreen, little feet moved between the rows of greens and little hands began to dig in the earth. They tugged at sometimes stubborn weeds that had begun to pop through the ground.

 

Paradise Valley Club members volunteer at the Wyoming Food for Thought Community Gardens. ©BGCCW2016

Paradise Valley Club members volunteer at the Wyoming Food for Thought Community Gardens. ©BGCCW2016

 
“Is this a weed?” shouted one kid.

 
“Look at this big one!” another held up a weed almost half as tall as him.

 

©BGCCW2016

©BGCCW2016

 
The Paradise Valley Club makes a weekly visit to the Wyoming Food for Thought Project’s Community Gardens. It’s part community service, part education.

 

“They’ve helped move rock, prepare the beds for planting, planted various fruits and vegetables, and weed,” said Nicole Arner, PV Club Director. “It’s not all work for them though, they also get a fun, interactive lesson based on gardening.”

 

PV Club members pose proudly by a bed they planted. ©BGCCW2016

PV Club members pose proudly by a bed they planted. ©BGCCW2016

Jamie Purcell is the executive director of the Wyoming Food for Thought Project. She said getting kids involved and engaged in growing their own food can remove barriers to access fresh food and combat hunger.

 
“Our community gardens provide a local solution to hunger. It teaches our younger generations the importance of sustainability and empowers them to control how their fresh food is grown,” said Ms. Purcell.

 
Being part of the growing cycle can help the children understand that one seed can turn into many pounds of food and from that one seed you can feed many. They can learn that eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive and that food doesn’t have to come from a can or pre-packaged box.

 
By connecting kids to nature, it can inspire a love of eating fresh-grown food as children are more likely to try something they’ve had a hand in growing.

 

The kids learned about the different parts of a flower and the function of each part in this interactive game of dress up. ©BGCCW2016

The kids learned about the different parts of a flower and the function of each part in this interactive game of dress up. ©BGCCW2016

 
“We hope that the youth can take what they learn here in our community gardens back to their parents to help start a garden of their own or put sweat equity into the dirt here to bring fresh produce home for their tables,” said Ms. Purcell.

 
The Wyoming Food for Thought Project also partners with the Boys & Girls Club to distribute weekend food bags throughout the summer at the Club sites for youth and families who need it. Purcell emphasizes hunger doesn’t stop because school is out for the summer.

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Main Club
1701 E "K" St.
Casper, WY 82601
Club number: 307.234.2456
Program Support: 307.235.4079
EIN: 23-7060727

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Community Learners Centers
Natrona County Prevention Coalition
United Way of Natrona County