St. Mary’s University garden helps feed low-income residents

WINONA, Minn. (AP) — St. Mary’s University students are offering produce from the school’s garden to a nonprofit that provides low-income residents with free food once a month.

Most of the produce grown in the Minnesota university’s garden in Winona goes directly to the food shelf at Winona Volunteer Services. University students are growing potatoes, tomatoes, onions, beets and asparagus, the Winona Daily News reported.

The year-old garden was set up with the volunteer partnership in mind, said Kyle Black, an associate professor of modern and classical languages at the university. The plants grown in the university garden were chosen after polling food shelf visitors on what fresh produce they wanted to receive.

Black and the students spend about 10 hours tending to the garden per week. The last round of harvesting yielded about 45 pounds of beets, kale and potatoes.

“It’s fun, it’s good work, it’s hands-on,” Black said. “What, are you going to fill in multiple choice for the rest of your lives? You’re not. You have to apply the knowledge that you acquire.”

Black said the garden is a space where “any discipline can and should apply.”

Student volunteer Andrew Sandoz planted seeds for eggplants in March. The group is now harvesting them.

Sandoz said he enjoys the hands-on aspect of the project, which was his first experience with gardening.

“It’s kind of cool to see that cycle,” he said. “I put the seed in the little tray, and now it’s out here in the garden and we can pick eggplants off it.”

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Information from: Winona Daily News, http://www.winonadailynews.com

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