A thank you to the Spence Garden Committee

The support and dedication to the Harry Spence School Garden has been wonderful. So much progress has been made by so many wonderful dedicated people.

A Note from the Spence School Garden Coordinator

I can’t help but think of the line from the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come,” and did they ever! The Garden Committee within Spence Elementary School had a vision, they made a plan and acted on that plan to make their garden idea a reality.

Grow La Crosse would like to thank ALL of you on the Garden Committee for coming to us with ideas, plans, time, energy and excitement. Without you, this would not be happening. A big thank you to Shelley Shirel, the principal at Spence Elementary School and all of the teachers and staff. They are helping Grow La Crosse create the garden space. They work within the classrooms to further educate children on nature. We would like to thank our corporate sponsor, Mayo Clinic Health System and Heather Young—Thrivent Financial representative and a Spence parent—for choosing to sponsor this garden. Thank you to Heather Mask and the entire Spence PTO for all of your support and excitement behind this project. A big thank you to Coulee Region Ecoscapes for being our contractor on this project and to Judson Steinbeck, for being the Project Manager.  A special thanks to Joe Ledvina, La Crosse Schools Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, and his team for the help with fencing installation, mulch for the garden, and so much more. A special thank you to Jacqui Marcou and Sherry Beames for putting together a fabulous fundraiser in early March. Thanks to all the fundraiser donors, volunteers and attendees who to helped raise money for this garden. It was a success!

There are so many people, organizations and groups that play a big part in making this garden come to fruition. To all of you, past, present and future involved, WE THANK YOU! We are honored to play our part in this school garden.

-Kristy DuChateau and the Grow La Crosse Team

Coulee Region EcoScapes preparing the garden site.

See the garden at the Garden Party, May 4th, 4-7pm.

Let the work continue! Below are some photos of the garden team breaking dirt and starting up on construction.

Mayors Conference Recap

Last Saturday, Grow and like-minded organizations gathered in the La Crosse center for the 4th annual La Crosse Mayor’s Neighborhood Conference. Grow partnered with Farm 2 School and the La Crosse County Health Department for the first breakout session on eating well at schools. The event was a huge success, as was the tabling event done afterwards.

Grow intern Spencer Garcia helped run the table. “The Mayor’s Conference,” Spencer says of the event, “was a vibrant event filled with residents from all across the city. It brought them together to interact with the departments at City Hall, organizations like Grow La Crosse, and local businesses. At our booth, I was able to talk with people about the things Grow does including school gardens, farm camp, and our seed & plant sales. We even had a fun activity involving guessing herbs.”

Thanks to all who came and helped at the event. What a wonderful way to connect to the community! We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.

Intern for us!

We utilize volunteers for garden maintenance, education and taste test sessions, special events and more!

Summer marketing intern, Laura Berry, helping with recess lessons.

We have openings for summer and fall intern positions.  We’re hoping to get all applications by this Friday, April 12th.

For details and how to apply:

Grants and Sponsorship awarded for 2017

Grow is so thankful to the sponsors and grants that make our organization possible and allow us to contribute to the community and connect children to healthy food and nature. We have received the following grants to help build our new garden at Harry Spence Elementary.

La Crosse Public Education Foundation – The Harry Spence School garden has been granted funding for picnic tables to utilize the space. The grant will also cover materials and installation for the limestone pathway for the garden. This grant will improve the look and the function of this space for participants.

La Crosse Public Education Foundation – The foundation has awarded Grow funding for equipment to continue our seed starters and supplied for taste tests. The supplies include soil, trays, seed cells, protective domes and other necessities. Our seed starting classes focus on a plant’s life cycle and how to prudently save seeds for next year. Our taste tests continue to educate children on the benefits of healthy foods while letting them taste what is growing and try a new recipe.

La Crosse Community Foundation – A grant has been awarded for a collection of garden beds for Grow La Crosse and soil to fill in the beds. Money from this grant will also go towards seeds and plants for the gardens.

Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation – This grant will go towards hoses, watering cans, wheelbarrows, shovels, hoes, and plants for our perennial garden. These funds will give us all the equipment we need to maintain the space for students in our community and ensure its fruitful future.

The League Group of La Crosse – This organization has granted us money that we put towards a grow cart. This allows us to start seedlings indoors with students and to watch them grow.  We will be transplanting them into the school garden.  If there are seedlings that do not fit in the garden space, we will be selling them at our plant sale.

There have been many other monetary donations from the community including: Sprouts for Kids Foundation, Gillette and Associates, Cary Heating and Air Conditioning, On Three Printing, Pearl Street Brewery and more. Spence Elementary PTO is also committing a yearly donation for their garden. We would like to thank and acknowledge the dedicated parents, staff and community members at Spence Elementary. They have been excited, dedicated, and influential to the project since day one, and have also written and received funding for additional garden supplies. We are grateful for all the support around this project.

We would also like to welcome and thank Thrivent Financial. Thrivent Financial is the Garden Sponsor and makes the educational programming possible.  Interested in getting help with your finances while being able to give back to the community?  Contact Heather Young for details: