A community garden can make neighborhoods brim with beauty and lots of wonderful produce.

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A community garden can make neighborhoods brim with beauty and lots of wonderful produce.  But perhaps the real beauty, is how a garden brings people together. And this, is something that the YME Science Club is well aware of.      
As a result of collaborative efforts between the Granite Falls Lutheran Church and the Science Clubs’ Student Growing Project, Granite Falls has its first ever community garden. And the hope is not only to grow food and healthy habits, but also relationships.
Steve Petrich, YME Science teacher and Science Club supervisor, has been working the garden initiative for a few years and saw an opportunity to realize a garden in Granite Falls on newly vacant property adjacent to the high school.
“This past spring, on behalf of the Science Club, Steve Petrich approached the Church with a request to use a portion of the property for garden plots,” said Granite Falls Lutheran Church Pastor Steve Carmany. The idea blossomed, with half of the space allotted to the Science Club, and the other half offered to the community, neighborhood and church members.
More and more, people are discovering the positive effects that planting a seed in a vacant lot can have on individuals and their neighborhoods.
“Most of the remaining garden has been planted in sweet corn and watermelon and this fall will be offered in a variety of ways to people in the community and the church,” said Carmany.
As for the Science Club, they wanted to plant another kind of seed as well. They wanted to get other students excited about gardening - and following a visit with YME third thru sixth graders nearly twenty students had signed up to garden with another adult.
“We wanted to get kids involved in growing healthy foods and doing things outside,” said YME Senior and  Science Club Vice President Sophie Timm.
For the Science Club, the garden space serves as an outdoor classroom where students can learn valuable skills as well as the importance of community, stewardship and environmental responsibility.
“A portion of the produce grown by students is donated to the local food shelf and to the YME school lunch program so everyone can have access to healthy foods,” said Timm.
The community garden provides an opportunity for anyone wishing to share their knowledge, passion or curiosity for gardening.  
Science Club members can be found tending to plots each Wednesday evening and folks are encouraged and welcome to check out the site and visit with student gardeners.
And while harvest is still a ways off, the Community Garden already seems to be giving back. “It would be nice if even more people would enjoy it next year and the next year…,” said Timm.
More information, along with interesting and helpful gardening tips is available via the community garden Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GraniteFallsCommunityGardens .