Youth group provides class gardens to address hunger - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Youth group provides class gardens to address hunger

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GEORGETOWN, Ind. (WDRB) A group of teens is addressing the local hunger issue head on so kids don't have to travel far for a well-balanced diet.

To find their daily greens, some students won't have to visit the local produce section. "We have rosemary, cilantro, bok choy, lettuces and kales," 14-year-old Parker Romney said.

That's because it's right in their Georgetown Elementary classroom. 

The brain child of a former horticulturist at Disney, a tower garden doesn't require dirt, uses ten percent of water that a traditional garden uses and recycles it. 

"Think downtown Louisville. There are no gardens, there are no farms nearby them. So, that's considered a food desert," Dixon Romney of Tower Garden said.

This way, there are no excuses.

"The average American gets one serving of fresh fruit or vegetable every day. Daily recommended is 13," Romney said.

Tori Floyd, 16, has experienced that statistic. "I either bummed food off my neighbors or I didn't eat at all because I didn't get the proper nutrients that I needed."

She volunteers with Miles for Merry Miracles, a local nonprofit that some have come to know around the holidays.

"I just kind of wanted to help out kids who were going through similar things I was going through."

The idea came after a December can food drive didn't spell nutrition. She and Parker Romney started this garden project, called Good to Grow Green.

"Instead of one season, we're trying the whole school year," Romney said.

Thanks to grants by Generation On and Peace First, students get to build their own garden.

"By helping kids take ownership in planting and growing their own produce, that translates at home to 'I would like some more of that,'" Dixon Romney said.

These third and fourth graders plant the seeds today and will be eating their own salads by next school year.

"I'm just fortunate that the stars and moon aligned that we were able to be the recipient of it. So, I'm so thankful for Miles for Merry Miracles and everyone else that has pitched in to make this happen for our students," Teacher Sarah Zeinemann said. "You are more apt to give it a try if you've if you've had some ownership in growing it. So, it's been so exciting to watch them just be so excited about growing everything right in our classroom."

They're helping the next generation with something permanent.

"It's been amazing to help these kids. It's been hard sometimes to get the time to do it because of school but if you can make time, make it because you won't regret what you've done, you'll just regret what you didn't do," Parker Romney said.

This aeroponic garden is one of few in the area. Once the group raises more funds, it plans to install more to go toward something bigger.

"We want healthy kids, healthy communities, productive citizens," Teresa Hebert said, Project Leader.

To volunteer, donate or sponsor a classroom, click here.

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