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Zumbrota-Mazeppa students learn about gardening at community garden

Groups of students from Zumbrota-Mazeppa schools visited the Zumbrota Community Garden on Tuesday to learn about gardening and help plant crops.

Zumbrota Community Garden
Gary Harbo shows a mushroom to Zumbrota first graders before they help plant honeyberry bushes Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at the Zumbrota Community Garden in Zumbrota, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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ZUMBROTA — Four classes of students from Zumbrota-Mazeppa schools visited the Zumbrota Community Garden on Tuesday to learn about gardening and help plant crops.

The garden was started in 2020 and, according to Gary Harbo the garden’s founder, this year the garden was able to host more educational events with local schools and do community outreach. “This is a hub for education,” Harbo said.

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Whitney Seyffer, a first grade teacher at Zumbrota-Mazeppa Primary School, said the students were walking back to the school from a field trip last year when they saw the garden and had an “impromptu information session” with someone working in the garden.

Seyffer said the teachers were looking for more ways to help out at the garden this year when Harbo mentioned they would start planting soon.

“(The students) had such great questions when they came the first time,” Seyffer said. “They were very excited to learn we were coming back.”

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Zumbrota Community Garden
Zumbrota first graders help plant honeyberry bushes Tuesday, May 24, 2022, at the Zumbrota Community Garden in Zumbrota, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

On Tuesday, the primary school students planted tundra and cinderella honeyberries while high school students planted raspberry bushes and helped set up trellises. “These are like nature’s gushers,” Harbo said to the primary students as he introduced them to honeyberries.

To occupy time while groups of first-grade students waited to plant the honeyberry bushes, Zumbrota-Mazeppa teachers led games of “Simon says” and “red light, green light.” Other students played tag in between the rows of crops while avoiding stepping on the black tarps and straw, which are the only two rules of the garden according to Harbo.

“It’s just a different way of learning, right?” Melissa Boraas, a first-grade teacher at Zumbrota-Mazeppa Primary School, said.

While the first-grade students said during the field trip that they learned “plants can breath,” and “plants can grow by water and sun,” first-grade teacher Seyffer said she hopes students learned how to take care of the garden and their health.

“I hope that they feel like they could be a part of the community and they can come and enjoy the garden anytime they want with their families and their friends,” Seyffer said.

Bella Carpentier is a journalism and political science student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN-TC). She is currently the managing editor of the student-run paper at UMN-TC, the Minnesota Daily. While reporting for the Minnesota Daily, she covered student activism and issues affecting the university's student body. Working for the Post Bulletin, Bella hopes to build community connections and advance her reporting skills. Readers can reach Bella at bcarpentier@postbulletin.com.
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