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Winona County Garden-in-a-Box

Winona County is focused on addressing local food projects, including farmers’ markets, community gardens, and farm to institution programs. In an effort to promote farm to childcare programming at Winona County childcare centers, MN Greencorps member, Ben Mompier, and other County staff implemented a project to integrate nutritional training and gardening at childcare centers.

The project involved a CATCH Nutrition training that was instructed by Brenda Pohlman, a health educator from Fillmore County. The training focused on healthy eating for children at childcare centers and some gardening activities. Each attendee received a “It’s Fun to be Healthy” CATCH early childhood curriculum. Linda Jacobs from Community Education with the Winona Public School District was a key partner. The CATCH training was hosted in conjunction with a morning childcare training. Linda was instrumental in providing outreach to the childcare providers as well as a location to hold the training. The project also provided garden-in-a-box kits to five of the attendees. The garden kit consisted of a 3’ by 3’ poly garden raised bed square, soil, fertilizer and seeds.

The gardens can help address food access and availability needs at the childcare sites. In addition to providing gardening activities, education for childcare providers and a source of healthy food, the gardens also connect children with agriculture and educate them on the source of their food. The children that participate and use the garden not only get the benefit of having access to healthy food but will also build skills and an appreciation of agriculture that will last them a lifetime and be passed to future generations.

“I’m very excited and already have a lot of ideas for things to do with the garden”
– Jenny Austin, St. Mary’s Educare

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