Ribbon Cutting Celebrates a New School-Community Garden

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COLUMBIA - Ridgeway Elementary School and Hickman High School celebrated a new school-community garden Tuesday morning in a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The garden's location is at the north field of Ridgeway Elementary School. It marks the first school-community garden in Columbia.

PedNet representative Sam Robinson brought his nine-year-old daughter Erin to work with him Tuesday not knowing she would do the honorary first dig on the property for the community garden. He said PedNet is one of the head organizations working with the project.

"This is just one example of how we want to produce resources for our community," Robinson said.  

The school received grant money it had applied for from Lowe's Corporation to fund the project. Father of two and Lowe's representative Jeff Holmes said Lowe's wants to raise awareness to get more people to apply for grants similar to the one given to Ridgeway Elementary.

"For the one's that applied [for the grant], both got it," Holmes said. "It's on them to take the time to apply."

The school will save one plot of the garden for themselves, but community members  can obtain a plot via an application process. Students from Ridgeway Elementary School and Hickman High School as well as members from the community will plant the the vegetable seeds for the school's plot. The school will use the community garden for educational purposes and for fresh food in school lunches.

"We will work with our chef that is trying to help us have more healthy dishes," Michelle Baumstark of Columbia Public Schools said. "It will definitely help using locally grown produce."

The principal of Ridgeway Elementary School said he expects the community garden to open this fall.