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FW: Grand Rapids Press: Vandalism hurts, baffles younggardeners

  • Subject: [cg] FW: Grand Rapids Press: Vandalism hurts, baffles younggardeners
  • From: "Lisa Rose Starner" lisa.rose@mixedgreens.org
  • Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2006 14:07:53 -0400
  • Thread-index: AcarPGqDT9LpiMAzQjWd6tz5doQXYgAAIG/QAAIiN/AABguJAAAAFWbQ

When there is vandalism, there is always an opportunity to raise awareness
with the local press... 

We recently faced some destruction to our gardens from presumably bored
kids, so our garden students wrote letters to the editor to express their
dismay... they featured the kids' work and this article on the front page

Striving to have gardens without borders... 
Lisa Rose

Lisa Rose Starner, MPA
Executive Director
Mixed Greens 
1444 Lake Dr. SE
Grand Rapids MI 49506
(o) 616.301.3592
(f) 616.301.3429
(c) 616.240.6480
website: www.mixedgreens.org

~Growing Kids Who Grow Gardens~

Vandalism hurts, baffles young gardeners 
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

By Kyla King
The Grand Rapids Press 

First, someone took the Red Delicious apple tree students planted at
Parkview Elementary in Wyoming. 

Then, vandals hit two other elementary school gardens tended by children,
damaging potato plant towers, taking trellis materials and ripping up

Disappointed students have decided enough is enough. In more than 30 letters
sent to The Press, they are appealing to the community to help protect their

"It makes me feel sad that people take our stuff from our garden," wrote
8-year-old Jerica Boss, of East Leonard Elementary in Grand Rapids. 

"Why would someone come to our school garden and wreck it?" wrote a student
from Taft Elementary in Wyoming. 

That's exactly what Jennifer Getting Jameslyn wonders, because the gardens
are open and available for the community to enjoy. 

"It's really disheartening for kids who spend their time caring for these
plants and watching them grow." said Jameslyn, whose non-profit "Mixed
Greens" group sponsors the gardens. 

"We don't have sensors or security cameras, and we don't want to block
anything off. We need everyone to be our garden guardians," she said. 

For the past three years, Mixed Greens has worked with more than 300
students in Grand Rapids and Wyoming to plant and tend vegetable and fruit
gardens. The organization's goal is to improve health and education and
encourage children to eat fruits and vegetables. 

Those involved with the program say it represents much more for many of the

"Some of these kids, this may be sadly the only garden they'll ever have,"
said Brent Merritt, who coordinates the after-school program at Parkview
Elementary. "(On free days) I've seen kids out here weeding or taking their
mom and dad through the garden and pointing out the things they've planted."

That's why Merritt says he was not surprised when the children took the time
to write their letters. 

"I give hats-off to them to be able to turn this into something positive,"
he said. 

Jameslyn said most of the vandalism was at East Leonard, Taft and Parkview
elementaries, where students tend them twice a week. 

The first incident occurred in June when Parkview students noticed an apple
tree was missing. Then over the Fourth of July holiday, Mixed Greens workers
said, all three gardens were hit. 

The students' dedication was evident Tuesday at Parkview Elementary, where
second and third graders replaced okra that had been ripped out by vandals. 

Shielding their eyes from the sun, the students huddled around after Mixed
Green staffer "Miss Emily" Martin explained the proper way to plant the

The kids watched intently as 8-year-old Travis Sleet dug a hole and
6-year-old Rebekah Helder gently placed an okra plant inside. 

"Working in the garden is a powerful experience for these students. They
care a lot about it," Jameslyn said. "The vandalism has been on a relatively
small scale, though it doesn't feel that way to the kids." 

Send e-mail to the author: kking@grpress.com 

)2006 Grand Rapids Press
) 2006 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.

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