Jefferson Middle School Garden Project Gives Back to the Community

Students, staff and other volunteers have spent the past few months creating a community garden at Jefferson Middle School, and the fruits of their labor are now being shared.

Noah Turkiewicz chose to return to this summer to work. In fact he was so dedicated, he climbed a fence to get in.

Turkiewicz is one of dozens of science students at the school who participated in the construction, planting and maintaining of a community "Giving Garden" at Jefferson Middle School.

While planting and tending to the garden in the enclosed courtyard at the school was easy during the school under the guidance of teachers Sarah Bowman and Lisa Beckman, weeding during summer vacation was a bit more challenging.

One day the fence was locked, and he climbed the wooden privacy fence to get access.

On Thursday, he visited the first day of Community Giving Garden to see the first harvest of vegetables he helped grow.

"They were such great teachers I wanted to help out," said Turkiewicz, who will be a freshman at Lakeview High School. "It is amazing to see it from beginning to end."

The garden initially started as an Eagle Scout Project for junior Christopher Green, who built a privacy fence, and several raised planter boxes in the court yard facing Little Mack at Jefferson Middle School. 

Once the boxes (some which were shaped like JMS) were complete, science teachers Bowman and Beckman took over project planting vegetables in a hydroponic greenhouse outside the building this past winter.

Area businesses also supported this project including Art Wakeford from American Excavating who donated and installed the cement path and slab in the garden.

In a addition to the greenhouse, a variety of vegetables including basil, tomatoes, zucchini and green beans were planted in the outside gardens. The students, in collaboration with the Optimist Club of St. Clair Shores, tended the garden throughout the summer.

 “This is just another way that the Optimist Club continues to support and 'Bring out the Best in Kids,'” states club president Debbie DePape in a release.

The Optimist Club also provided financial, and physical, support to the project and will join students in manning the stand.

“To the best of my knowledge, this is the first known Community Garden in the city of St. Clair Shores that is open to the public offering free vegetables,” she added DePape.

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