THE GARDEN STORY
Here at Retail Construction Services, Inc., we are dedicated to giving back.Give back not only to those in need within our community, but also the future generations of this wonderful community. What started out as a great idea has grown exponentially and has become an amazing reality. Here at the RCS Giving Garden, school groups, master gardeners, corporate volunteers, and our own employees work together for the common good of teaching children the art of gardening and the importance of healthy eating.
See what else RCS and the Giving Garden are up to:
Retail Construction Services, Inc.
11343 39th Street N.
Lake Elmo, MN 55042
From HWY 36 - go south on Lake Elmo Ave, turn left onto 39th Street, garden is at corner of 39th and Laverne.
From HWY 5- going west from Stillwater take right onto Laverne (near Fury dealership) garden is on the right at corner of Laverne and 39th street.
RCS Giving Garden featured in Stillwater Gazette
Community garden takes root in Lake Elmo
By LAUREN ANASTOS
(Created: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 1:41 PM CDT)
LAKE ELMO - Looking to combine education, environmentalism and community service, a local construction company recently converted its lawn into a community garden that will be used to stock the local food shelf and teach elementary students the basics of agriculture.
Inspired by a story about a community vegetable garden in New York City, Retail Construction Services Vice President Joni Fletty pitched the idea to the company's owners. Within a month, preparations were underway for the 0.2-acre "Giving Garden," which was planted early last week.
Fletty said the project is a natural fit for Retail Construction, which specializes in "green" projects and looks for ways to support the communities in which it works."
There was so much opportunity outside our doors to provide fresh, healthy options for people. Our real estate was begging for more than just a mower to drive over it," she said.
Before long, the idea blossomed to include a teaching opportunity, and Fletty said she expects children from Lake Elmo Elementary School - located a block away from the company's 39th Street offices - will get involved with the project when school resumes."
As a mom, I am aware how so many children don't know where our food comes from," Fletty said. "So Lake Elmo is incorporating the Giving Garden into the curriculum for this coming school year."
Specifically, Fletty said children will help harvest the food in the fall and plant the following year's crop in the spring. Once the produce is harvested, it will be donated to Valley Outreach, a Stillwater food shelf."It is about not only planting seed in the garden, but also in the minds of children," Fletty said, noting that ideas cultivated at a young age can lead to something big and wonderful in the future.
In order to make the best use of their funds, Retail Construction solicited advice from three Master Gardeners through the University of Minnesota's Extension Program.
With the support of 20 volunteers and several community groups, a portion of the garden was planted with herbs, beans, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, squash, melons and blueberries last week.
Fletty said she was astonished how much time, material and funding was donated to the project by community groups and her Retail Construction colleagues."We expected only a little support, but once we told the story, we were really surprised about the excitement concerning the project," she said. "It has truly been a community effort."Donors and community partners include: Buell's Landscape Center, Bergmann's Greenhouse, National Reprographics, Ivy Rose Design, Lake Elmo Elementary School, Chippewa Valley Growers and Lake Elmo resident Todd Bruchu.
Those interested in volunteering or learning more about the Giving Garden are encouraged to visit http://www.rcsgivinggarden.blogspot.com/.