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Student-Run Garden Serves Community

August 10, 2010, 6:20 PM by Molly Miles

Student-Run Garden Serves Community
SIOUX FALLS, SD - The garden on the edge of Augustana's campus does more than just grow produce.

It's filled with tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries and more, most of which is donated weekly to the Banquet in Sioux Falls.

"I love the fresh stuff.  It's the main thing I go for.  I mean, I'm so glad at Augustana they do that,” Banquet guest Mary A. Guenther said.

And Augustana is glad to do it.

“It just really feels good knowing that we are picking this and giving it to people who maybe can't afford to buy local produce,” Augustana Senior Natalie Ronning said.

Ronning is the project's leader and says the initial goal was to grow food for students to eat in the commons. But to get to that point, they needed to recruit volunteers and perfect their green thumb.

“From there, we saw the need in the community for food, fresh, local produce, and just the abilities we had here to start it and reach out to the community,” Ronning said.

“I admire all young people that are doing God's work.  Feeding the hungry is doing God's work” Guenther said.

And now other organizations are helping the students do that. The YMCA and Leif Erikson Day Camp recently donated six acres of land, giving the garden room to grow.

“We would like to eventually expand out to there and grow at a larger scale and continue donating and hopefully use it at some point on our college campus,” Ronning said.

Over the past couple weeks, Ronning says they've given more than 100 pounds of fresh produce to the Banquet.

And by caring for the land, the students are helping care for the community.

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