“Gardening is one of America’s favorite pastimes. Grandparents, mothers, fathers and youth can partake in this creative, constructive activity to produce more than just beautiful flowers. Gardening gives people of all ages a place to play, experiment, and enjoy the ‘fruits’ of their labor” –Health and Nutrition from the Garden, Junior Master Gardeners.

This is the goal of the Youth Garden at the Itasca County Family YMCA. Through collaboration with The Y Childcare Department, Itasca County Master Gardeners, and Get Fit Itasca; youth participating in Childcare Programing at The Y have an opportunity to play in the dirt while learning about growing their own food.

Through generous funding from General Mills Foundation and thee Itasca County Health Fund, what was once a grassy space in the back of The Y is now a thriving garden for all to enjoy.

“This year, the second year of the garden, we have added some perennials including blueberries and strawberries. During the less eventful weeding times, crafts are done in the garden to keep the momentum and enjoyment going for the kids,” said Meghan Bown, Get Fit Itasca Community Health Coordinator.

Last week the children created small planters to decorate the fence of their garden. Tuesday July 23, starting at approximately 10:30 a.m., the children will be selling mint lemonade at The Y made with fresh mint from their garden.

“This is their garden. We encourage them to visit whenever they like and share about all they have accomplished,” stated Master Gardener Susan Lick.

Volunteers of all ages are always welcome and appreciated in the garden. If interested, contact Meghan Bown at 327-1161 ext. 240 or mbown@ymcaitasca.org. For more information on Get Fit Itasca or the SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Program) visit www.getfititasca.org or visit us on Facebook.

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