Girl Scouts pitch in for gardens

Peterborough troop helps Cornucopia’s Community Garden by building vegetable beds

  • The troop filling both beds, raking the soil and smoothing it out.
  • Leah Krason (bottom) and Meara McClusky (top) pushing wheelbarrows of soil to fill the raised beds.
  • Rachel Maher, left, Sarah Knowles, Molly Tyle, and Mairin Burgess bringing the lumber over to be assembled into one of the raised garden beds.
  • Joyce Carroll, left, and Anni Simila putting in the screws to assemble raised vegetable beds.
  • The Peterborough Girl Scouts Junior Troop bring the frame for a raised vegetable bed to its location in the Cornucopia Project community garden.
  • Tomatoes and pole beans planted by Wee Seeds crop up in the troops' donated vegetable beds.
  • Peterborough's Girl Scout Junior Troop finished a Take Action project at the end of May which resulted in two new raised vegetable beds for the Cornucopia Project's community garden.

At the end of May, Girl Scout Junior Troop 12288 of Peterborough took up their tools and set out to make the world a better place. And now just a few weeks later, the fruits of their labor are beginning to peak through the ground, as plants sprout from the two vegetable beds the troop built and donated to the Cornucopia Project in Peterborough.

As part of their Take Action project, which requires the girls to identify community needs and devise and put into place solutions, the girls decided to tackle the challenge of getting locally grown vegetables to members of the community who visit local food pantries. The troop built two raised vegetable garden beds and installed them at the Cornucopia Project’s Community Garden outside the Peterborough Community Garden Center.

The Cornucopia Project is dedicated to developing and building school and community gardens, providing food for the local community and, in particular, working with and educating children about where their food comes from.

The Cornucopia Project has been building a 7,500 square-foot community garden at the Community Center for more than a year, with more than 100 volunteers donating hundreds of volunteer hours to make the garden a reality. The objective is to grow vegetables to be donated directly to food pantries and seniors in need, as well as providing a location for gardening classes through partnership with the Peterborough Recreation Department.

The troop was already aware of the Cornucopia Project’s mission, explained troop leader Nisa Simila of Peterborough in an interview Thursday. The troop had done volunteer work in the community garden last summer, harvesting crops and delivering them to local pantries.

“When it came time to do ‘Take Action,’ they immediately thought of the Cornucopia Project,” said Simila. And although they had a short list of possible projects, the Cornucopia Project won out. Although the girls are still only between 9 and 10 years old, most of the planning — speaking to Cornucopia organizers and identifying a project they could do and contacting suppliers to gather the needed materials — was all left up to the girls themselves.

“When at the end we had a reflection on what they did, the one thing that really came through was that they felt like they were in charge for once,” said Simila. “They’re fourth grade girls. They have teachers and parents and adults constantly telling them what to do. But here, they were really in control.”

“Everybody needs food, so it’s good that they’re giving food to the food pantry, because people need it,” said Leah Krason, 9, of Peterborough, one of the troop members that built the beds. She and Anni Simila, 9, of Peterborough were assigned the task of acquiring the lumber for the beds, while other girls were in charge of getting the soil and coordinating time schedules. “And then we actually did it,” said Leah. “We took the wood, built the beds, and then started filling it.”

“It took us two days to fill both of the beds,” recalled Anni Simila. But in the end both girls said it was worth it.

“We did it because it was really fun and it helped the community,” said Krason.

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