On Tuesday, June 18, about 100 students came to the Iowa Gardening for Good Farm near Madrid to learn and perform community service. They came for about a half day and worked on a couple of different gardening tasks and learned about growing vegetables.

These students were from the Nevada school district and were part of the YSS summer enrichment program. The summer enrichment program is a free six-week program offered to children (K-eight) during the summer months. The program focuses on activities that are both fun and educational. It’s an excellent opportunity to keep youth engaged over the summer, while also providing breakfast and/or lunch.

The students learned by doing. They worked on transferring seedlings into seed trays to be planted at a later date, transplanted peppers into plastic mulch and transplanted cabbage. All of these efforts not only provided a learning experience, but also helped with a large gardening project that grows and donates all the food to food banks and food pantries.

The Madrid farm location has about 13 acres of vegetables and expects over 2,500 volunteers will come help plant and harvest over 200,000 pounds of fresh produce that is donated to food pantries. So far, about 650 volunteers have helped get the planting in shape.

The two main objectives for Iowa Gardening for Good are to educate people about growing food and donate food to people in need. While about half of the volunteers we get are adults, the youth groups provide an excellent opportunity to meet both of the objectives at the same time.

To learn more about Iowa Gardening for Good or to sign up to volunteer, you can to the website at https://www.iowagardeningforgood.com/.