Food for Learning teaches lessons in sustainable gardening

BY JOHN KREROWICZ
jkrerowicz@kenoshanews.com
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A community/school gardening project might get a boost if the city of Kenosha plows in too.

The Food for Learning farming effort aims to teach students about sustainable gardening, emphasize benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, and pack produce into young people’s diets.

The project began at Harborside Academy four years ago using grants through the Kenosha County Division of Health and includes assistance from Xten Industries, Gateway Technical College’s horticulture program and Carthage College’s teacher education department.

Municipal immersion

Two Carthage students — Steven Feest and former Kenosha alderman Anthony Nudo — recently submitted a resolution to the city to have it join the project too. The city council is to consider the resolution at its 7 p.m. Monday meeting in the municipal building, 625 52nd St. The session is open to the public.

The resolution has in-kind city participation but does not require cash contributions.

Nudo, majoring in criminal justice and pre-law, and Feest, majoring in business, became involved through college courses requiring community service.

Bring on the benefits

Having the city join the project could cut soil, mulch, compost and transportation costs, said Mary Bohning, Harborside environmental science teacher and project co-director. The city already gives away soil, mulch and compost to residents and has trailers that could be loaded with project produce, she said.

City participation also might mean some public land made available for use by community members who want to turn their thumbs green, she said.

Prisca Moore, Carthage education professor and project co-director, said the city might be able to get grants to help establish those community gardens.

Academic aspect

Harborside 11th-graders join the project as part of the school curriculum. They work the 43 raised beds and rows of trellised produce grown on five acres owned by Xten in the Kenosha Industrial Park. On Saturdays in season, they reap what they’ve sown and sell it at HarborMarket. What’s left is donated to several food pantries, including those at the Shalom Center and Salvation Army.

The 11th-graders also help build gardens at various elementary and middle Kenosha Unified schools that use what’s grown there.

The juniors also model good eating habits for younger students, Bohning said.

“If the younger kids don’t know what it is, they’re not going to eat it,” she said. “The little guys want to be like the older guys.”

Moore said the project also opens some students’ eyes about hunger.

“They become aware there are some people who don’t necessarily have enough food,” she said.

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