Wabash Marketplace, Inc. has partnered with the Wabash County YMCA and Wabash City Schools to launch a Community Garden at O.J. Neighbours Elementary School. Patrick Sullivan, executive director for Wabash Marketplace, Dr. Marvin Wright, a volunteer and YMCA staff helped construct two new raised beds to join one existing bed at OJ Neighbours. Wabash Marketplace, True Value, Hoffman’s Nursery, Brodbeck Seeds and Schlemmer Brothers Metalworks donated materials for the beds.
First and second grade students from both Wabash City Schools and MSD of Wabash County schools participating in the YMCA’s Summer Program of Awesome Reading for Kids (SPARK) planted the garden beds as part of their camp program. “Our campers are learning what plants need to grow and are also getting hands-on experience by planting and tending the raised beds,” stated Amanda Jones-Layman, Director of Academic Engagement. “We are fortunate to have dedicated volunteers and support from Purdue Extension Master Gardeners guiding our campers both in the classroom and out in the garden.”
“Since Wabash Marketplace programs the Wabash Farmers Market, the kids will also have the opportunity to sell what they grow or take vegetables home to enjoy with their families,” continued Jones-Layman. The vegetables that have been planted this summer include green beans, tomatoes, carrots lettuce, peppers and squash. SPARK campers work in the Community Garden weekly and are entirely responsible for the care and upkeep of the raised beds. “This is a truly rewarding project for Wabash Marketplace to facilitate,” shared Patrick Sullivan. “Agriculture has always been an important part of Wabash County's commerce and this program ties the concept of 'seed to feed' all together in a hands-on environment.”