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Montana Ag Network: Growing a better community through ag literacy

Posted: 10:02 AM, Apr 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-11 12:03:22-04

GREAT FALLS – For three years, the Electric City FFA chapter along with C.M. Russell High School students have assembled and sold Grow Your Own Garden kits.

The program’s goal is to educate communities and empower families in need by teaching them to grow their own vegetables.

Members told MTN News they were shocked to learn many people didn’t know where their food came from. A U.S. Department of Agriculture study showed that nearly one in five adults are unaware that hamburgers are made of beef. The lack of ag literacy and the want to empower families in need helped launch the Electric City FFA’s Grow Your Own Garden project.

“To think that people can take these garden kits, move them into a bigger area and eventually pull their own food out of dirt and eat it, and they know where it came from, that’s kind of a cool feeling,” Morgan Zuidema, a CMR senior, said.

The kits, which consist of a container, soil, seeds, plant markers, and detailed instructions on how to grow the plants, are a hit. Students and FFA members sold the Grow Your Own Garden kits at the Home and Garden Show a few weeks ago in Great Falls.

“Before the Home and Garden Show, we made about 50 and to hear that we needed 20 more, it was kind of exciting to hear that people were actually that interested in something like this,” Zuidema said.

All the proceeds from the show were used to build more kits to donate to area food pantries.

“It breaks my heart that there are kids my age that don’t know where their next meal is coming from and being able to help them feels really good,” Haley Tompers, a CMR freshman, said.

-Reported by Jason Laird/MTN News