New 5K race to promote healthy living, benefit school garden project

Lily Siebert, center, garden coordinator for the "Growing Health, Growing Food" project, discusses the project's upcoming 5K fundraiser with TJ Everett, student gardener, after finishing work Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at the West Middle School garden. Siebert was offering costume suggestions for TJ who will be working during the event. She suggested spinach, which caused TJ to smile and then shake his head. At left is Martha Allen, a Lawrence High School graduate, who is a summer intern for the project. She will be a junior this fall at Lawrence University in Wisconsin.

Lily Siebert, center, garden coordinator for the "Growing Health, Growing Food" project, discusses the project's upcoming 5K fundraiser with TJ Everett, student gardener, after finishing work Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at the West Middle School garden. Siebert was offering costume suggestions for TJ who will be working during the event. She suggested spinach, which caused TJ to smile and then shake his head. At left is Martha Allen, a Lawrence High School graduate, who is a summer intern for the project. She will be a junior this fall at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. by Karrey Britt

A new 5K race is coming to Lawrence on July 28 that will benefit a school garden project that began at West Middle School three years ago. Since then, the project has grown to include gardens at two nearby elementary schools, on city property, and at The Merc.

Not only are seven students planting and harvesting produce for school cafeterias, but they are also selling it this summer at a weekly farmers market and through a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, program.

So far this season, they’ve harvested 500 pounds of produce and made $1,377 in sales.

“It’s been going really well, and we’ve had a lot of produce despite the heat,” said 15-year-old Hayley Luna, a student gardener who has been involved with the project called “Growing Food, Growing Health” for two years.

On Wednesday morning, she talked about the garden after washing off potatoes that would be sold at the next day’s market.

So what else has been growing in their gardens? Hayley rattled off a long list that includes okra, beets, herbs, strawberries, blackberries and peppers.

Hayley said the keys to their success have been watering and weeding. She said they are lucky to have a drip irrigation system for watering everything but a few areas. But there’s no easy way to pull weeds, and she said it’s important to keep the weeds out so they don’t take the water from the plants.

“It’s rewarding work and a lot of fun,” she said.

Hayley thinks the 5K run will raise more awareness about their project and money to help keep the gardens sustainable. The money will be used to purchase items such as seeds, plants, mulch, educational supplies for students and equipment. “I am really excited about it,” she said.

Lily Siebert, garden coordinator, said they decided to have a 5K, or 3.1-mile, event because it would connect the two aspects of healthy living: physical and nutritional. She encourages walkers and runners to participate in the event, which will start and finish at West Middle School.

“We encourage absolutely anyone to run, jog, run-walk, walk-jog or skip the course,” she said. “We will cheer as hard for the first person to cross the finish line as the last.”

Afterward, there will be post-race festivities including garden tours, live music, raffle prizes and a farmers market. There also will be a build-your-own sandwich bar that will include ingredients like honey, bananas and peanut butter.

“The T-shirt is really fun,” Siebert said. “The tagline is a race to the spinach.”

Nancy O'Connor, director of the "Growing Food, Growing Health" project, talks about the project's first 5K fundraiser which will be July 28. The event will benefit gardens at West Middle School and Sunset Hill and Hillcrest elementary schools. O'Connor was discussing the event during a garden workday on Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at West Middle School. Listening, from left, are Hayley Luna, Martha Allen and TJ Everett.

Nancy O'Connor, director of the "Growing Food, Growing Health" project, talks about the project's first 5K fundraiser which will be July 28. The event will benefit gardens at West Middle School and Sunset Hill and Hillcrest elementary schools. O'Connor was discussing the event during a garden workday on Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at West Middle School. Listening, from left, are Hayley Luna, Martha Allen and TJ Everett. by Karrey Britt

The garden at West Middle School has been thriving despite the dry conditions and triple-digit heat. Student gardeners said the keys to a successful garden have been watering and weeding.

The garden at West Middle School has been thriving despite the dry conditions and triple-digit heat. Student gardeners said the keys to a successful garden have been watering and weeding. by Karrey Britt


HOW TO PARTICIPATE

A school garden project called “Growing Food, Growing Health” is hosting its first 5K run at 7:30 a.m. July 28, at West Middle School, 2700 Harvard Road. The event will benefit gardens at West Middle School, and Sunset Hill and Hillcrest schools.

Participants will receive a T-shirt, and the top overall male and female finisher will receive a $100 gift certificate to The Merc.

The cost to participate is $25 before Saturday, and then it’s $30. To register, visit The Merc at 901 Iowa or its website at themerc.coop. Participants also can sign up on race day.

For more information, contact Lily Siebert at 843-8544 or lily@themerc.coop. She’s also seeking volunteers for the event.

Graphic

Graphic by Lily Siebert

Tagged: Growing Health, physical fitness, school garden, nutrition, Growing Food

Comments

LilySiebert 1 year, 9 months ago

I loved how you even described our conversation of TJ dressing up to be the lead biker. I think we might be able to convince him to be a carrot so that people can figuratively and literally be chasing a carrot! Thanks for the great article, Karrey!

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jamielightblog 1 year, 9 months ago

"race to the spinach"...I LOVE that!!

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