For Immediate Release Contact: Kara Bowlin
August 13, 2010 314- 622-3201
Gardening Project at MSI Bears Fruit
200-plus Pounds of Produce to be Exact
ST. LOUIS -- In March of this year, five 4-foot x 20-foot x 10-inch raised garden beds were installed at the City’s Medium Security Institution (MSI) at 7600 Hall Street with the intent to grow produce to benefit at least one community food bank in the Baden area.
“MSI is proud to be a part of the Gateway Greening family with this gardening project,” said Gene Stubblefield, Commissioner of Corrections. “I thank the staff at Gateway Greening and the volunteers from the universities for their assistance. However, I particularly want to thank the MSI residents who volunteered to maintain the garden beds. The vegetables that were grown in our garden have gone right back into our neighborhood. I can’t think of a better way to give back to the community than with fresh, healthy, homegrown squash, cucumbers, greens and other produce. It’s wonderful to see the residents build their personal character by focusing on the needs of others.”
The lumber and soil for the beds were provided through a neighborhood greening grant from Gateway Greening. Lincoln University provided plants and Christ’s Southern Mission Baptist Church provided seeds so that the garden could provide a variety of produce which includes kale, squash, cucumbers, okra, assorted peppers, eggplant, watermelon, carrots and tomatoes.
With help from Gateway Greening staff and volunteers from Lincoln University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, five to 10 female residents of MSI, who volunteered for the project, maintained the garden beds. Their labors have been very successful. To date, the MSI garden has had six harvests resulting in a little more than 200 pounds of assorted vegetables being donated to the food pantry at Trinity Full Gospel Ministries, 8319 Halls Ferry. The food pantry was suggested by 2nd Ward Alderwoman Dionne Flowers in whose ward MSI is located.
Over the six harvests, the MSI garden has produced more than 35 lbs. of squash, 20 lbs. of Kale greens and Swiss chard, 30 lbs. of watermelon, 55 lbs. of cucumbers and pounds of the other vegetables being grown as well.
The garden project has been so successful that MSI will be applying for an extension in order to produce winter lettuce and squash and plans to apply for a 2011 grant.
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