New school garden planted at Flathead

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Flathead High School Environmental Club Vice President Caitlyn Shaver, left, and President Hannah Whipkey plant garlic during the grand opening of the school’s “Growing a Better World Garden” on Wednesday. The club’s main goals for the garden are to promote locally grown food and arm-to-school programs.

Gardens continue to grow in Kalispell Public Schools.

Flathead High School has the sixth garden to crop up in the district. The mounded garden in the shape of “FHS” represents a student-led effort spearheaded by Flathead’s Environmental Club.

Last spring students planted a variety of vegetables, strawberries and herbs with the goal of incorporating the produce into school meals.

On Tuesday Flathead students introduced their “Growing a Better World Garden” to the community, while promoting locally grown food and farm-to-school programs by hosting a local harvest event through a grant from the National Center for Appropriate Technology.

The youth-led event featured food prepared by Flathead culinary students using locally produced ingredients donated from Kalispell Kreamery, Farm-to-Market Pork, Streich and Associates potato farm and several local families.

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America members and students in Flathead’s early childhood classes also helped organize the event, which included educational games and speaker Jessica Manly, a Montana FoodCorps service member.

Environmental Club president and Flathead senior Hannah Whipkey has been at the helm of getting a high school garden planted with help from Manly in securing grants from Nourish the Flathead and Park Side Credit Union’s iPay 2 Give campaign.

With a lot of focus on school gardens at the elementary level, Whipkey said it was time to get high schools involved.

“I think it’s important to get high-schoolers involved in eating locally,” Whipkey said.

“It supports people in your community if you’re buying local. It’s supporting your farmers. It supports Montana.”

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or by email at hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

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