The Grow La Crosse (GROW) Hamilton/SOTA School Garden was created in 2013 in a collaborative effort by GROW, parents, teachers, administration, and community volunteers. GROW, a local non-profit, continues to develop and maintain the garden while also providing quality programming for 300 students at the school. The garden is a hands-on, outdoor education and growing space which is utilized for taste test and curriculum-connected lessons at least 51 times in the spring and another 51 in the fall. Also, the garden is accessible to students several days a week during recess and during after-school programs where students can investigate, taste, help with maintenance, build community and just breathe.
The garden, with both raised beds and vertical garden boxes, features a wide range of organic gardening techniques and provides experiential learning opportunities for children. “Vegetables and fruits are planted in the school garden by students and are harvested and utilized in the cafeteria or in garden taste test lessons and snacks. ” says Kari Bersagel Braley, Program Director for GROW La Crosse. “We provide students with authentic learning experiences as they are involved with every step from seed to table: examining, touching, smelling, tasting and growing. Not only do these experiences connect them to healthy food and nature, but also helps improve their attitudes towards trying new foods.”
Expansion to New Lot!
This fall and spring we'll be moving our garden to a new lot a block away from the school.
Mayo Clinic Health System is the official sponsor of our new garden space near Hamilton/SOTA School located at 807 Johnson Street. Their sponsorship provides funding to maintain and plan the garden.
The new school garden was made possible through a purchase made by Shelter Development. The property is a vacant city lot located kitty-corner to Hamilton Early Learning Center in La Crosse. Shelter Development, who received a grant from Organic Valley to buy the land, is a non-profit organization that helps other non-profits with real estate needs.
GROW La Crosse has agreed to develop and maintain the land as a garden space for students that will be used for learning experiences and for growing produce for student programming.
Thank you school garden sponsors:
The Endrizzi Family
David and Mary Bersagel
Rachel and Cameron
Anonymous - Berkedal-Servais Family - Linda & Chuck Lee - Mary and David Hestekin - Stanton Family - Tammy and Spencer Henderson
- Established in 2012
- Students served: ~ 300
- Program Director: Kari Bersagel-Braley
- Area: 520 ft2
- Raised Beds: 13
- Includes 8 hanging planter boxes