After-school program to offer new gardening club

BUCKHANNON — Children involved in the Stockert Youth and Community Center’s after-school program will soon learn the importance of gardening and harvesting home-grown fruits and vegetables.

Through the after school program, participants have options on what activities they should do that day, including arts and crafts, science club, gym and more. At the end of the month, gardening club will be added to the list of options.

With assistance and knowledge from the Buckhannon Community Garden officials, SYCC kids will learn the extensive process of planting fruits and vegetables.

“They’re going to be planting seeds in our greenhouse, and then after they get to a certain size, they’re going to take those plants and transplant them to the community garden,” explained SYCC’s director, Debora Brockleman.

Once the plants are transplanted to the community garden, the kids will be able to help maintain the garden throughout the summer.

“They will be able to harvest some of the vegetables for their own families, where they will be able to take (the fruits and vegetables) home with them,” she said.

Brockleman said it’ll be rewarding for the kids to be involved in the whole process of growing a garden — from planting the seeds to harvesting the fruits and gardens.

“So that could be another little aspect that we teach them – you grow this and you harvest it and what you don’t take you can give out to the community — you can donate to the Parish House because they have a need or you could go to the farmer’s market and sell it to the community,” she said.

Because many kids have not been introduced to the idea of gardening, Brockleman said she thinks the club will be useful for the participants to know the benefits of having a garden.

“In today’s society, everybody is so busy. Families don’t really plant gardens anymore,” she said. “And we just want to get back to basics, and teach the kids. And maybe what we teach them here, they’ll go home and talk to their parents and maybe get them motivated to plant a small garden.”

Another benefit of the project, Brockleman said, is the kids will see a difference in taste from garden fresh fruits and vegetables compared to store bought.

“Plus it’s economical for the families, especially on a tight budget,” she added. “And they could even learn to plant a small garden with the basics of what they eat every week. I think it would be really great for them.”

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