full description - content: The fourth through sixth graders in the Lil’ Rams summer camp will all leave with a green thumb.
full description - content: Teaming up with the Applewood Hy-Vee One Step program, the children who attend Lil’ Rams summer camp at Blumfield Elementary have been caring for a vegetable garden throughout the summer. The One Step program was awarded a grant that helps put vegetable gardens in places of need.
full description - content: “We reached out to Ralston Public Schools and asked if they could see some benefit in having a community garden there,” Linda Richards, project coordinator for Applewood Hy-Vee, said. “It’s a great fit.”
full description - content: “We have had this all summer,” said Maddie Krieser, a Lil’ Rams counselor. “Since June we come out here at least once a day to water and see if anything is ready to pick.”
full description - content: The Hy-Vee One Step program had a Boy Scout troop come out to plant acorn squash, radishes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, cauliflower, sweet peppers, and bell peppers next to the school in two large plant boxes, built by Hy-Vee Construction. Once everything was planted, the rest was up to the Lil’ Rams, who have shown a lot of enthusiasm towards caring for the vegetables.
full description - content: “They usually want to volunteer to come out and water,” Krieser said. They had to form groups because so many of the children were eager to water and care for the garden. “They’re, like, ‘I don’t even know what we’re looking for!’”
full description - content: However, the campers don’t get to keep the vegetables they pick from the garden. The vegetables are being gathered for the end of camp in August when Hy-Vee nutritionist, Missy Sarr, will come and speak to them.
full description - content: “We purposefully planted items so she could make salsa with them,” Richards said. “She’s going to show kids how you can make another product with them. You can eat them as they are or you can turn them into something else.”
full description - content: When Lil’ Rams summer camp ends in early August, Richards’ hope is for the garden to continue.
full description - content: “It will be there in perpetuity,” Richards said. The fourth grade teachers at Blumfield Elementary have shown interest in growing Nebraska grasses and the state flower, the goldenrod, in the boxes to coincide with the Nebraska history unit.
full description - content: “The kids can have a live “let’s go see and experience our state flower and native Nebraska grass,’” Richards said. She even has her sights set on expansion.
full description - content: “Our hope is that we will keep growing this,” Richards said. “We’re looking at adding a location.”