FW: Salt Lake Tribune: Teens create a garden to help the hungry
- Subject: [cg] FW: Salt Lake Tribune: Teens create a garden to help the hungry
- From: "Utah Gardens" Utahgardens@comcast.net
- Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 07:13:00 -0600
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Subject: Salt Lake Tribune: Teens create a garden to help the hungry
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Teens create a garden to help the hungry
South Salt Lake: They plan to donate half their crops to food banks, and
sell the rest to cover operating costs
By Cathy McKitrick
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
SOUTH SALT LAKE - Teenagers these days - you never know what they're going
to do next.
Take, for example, the dozen or so youth gathered Saturday in a vacant
lot at 3185 S. 1100 West. They were, umm, gardening, for Pete's sake!
"We're trying to feed the homeless," said Shannon Smith with a grin, her
In February, Smith, 17, began laying the groundwork for this community
garden project, planned for about two acres of unkempt land owned by Salt
Half of the land would be used to grow crops to donate to food banks and
homeless shelters, while the harvest from the other half would be sold to
restaurants and farmers markets to fund future community gardens.
The high school students, some from Youth City Councils across the
valley, others doing community service for International Baccalaureate
programs, named their group "PLAY," an acronym for Planting, Learning and
"We all brainstormed to come up with that. PLAY describes what it is -
come out and plant, learn and have fun," Smith said.
Besides growing tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash and swiss chard,
they also are cultivating friendship, responsibility and a sense of
"I'm excited to see the end result," said Amber Johnson, 18, of
Taylorsville. "I've made a lot of new friends and it feels like a big
The South Salt Lake project is a joint effort between Utah Gardens Inc.
and the Salt Lake County 4-H program.
South Salt Lake resident Shane Siwik heads Utah Gardens, a nonprofit
organization that also operates a 10-acre community garden in Sandy.
"We hope to donate 250,000 pounds of food within a couple of years,"
How hard can it be, working the land?
When the group began in early May, the lot was "a wild mess. We cleaned
it up, met the neighbors, cut down dead trees, mowed the weeds and chopped
and stacked wood," said Smith.
Now, neat rows of tomato and cucumber plants peek out of the ground
along one side of the large plot. But there's still extensive work to be
done, or in some cases redone.
Thursday, the teens staked down 300 feet of weed barrier, carefully
cutting holes for the plants already in the ground. Friday, winds blew the
"No way!" was Johnson's reaction when she saw what the wind had wrought.
Siwik labeled it "a lesson in adversity."
On Saturday, Andy Rindlisbach, 17, of West Valley City, worked with
others to reposition the fabric and stake it down again.
The volunteers water the 100-by-300-foot plot every day by hand, using a
garden hose. The teens hope to install a drip system soon. They also want to
raise enough money to purchase a tractor.
Squash, zucchini, baby carrots, beets, swiss chard and herbs also will
be planted at the site.
Denise Wayman, 17, from West Valley City, handles the finances for PLAY
in addition to getting her hands in the dirt.
"I've gained friends and tons of knowledge about plants. Our leaders are
amazing," Wayman said. "And it's fun to see people come and work together
toward a common goal."
Wayman also has earned her mother's admiration.
"I'm proud of her. She's so willing to do the service and be involved,
to see things happen," said Diana Wayman of her daughter. "She's a hard
worker with a good attitude."
All that - just from a garden.
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