Student gardeners help feed hungry; ask for community help to win $20,000 grant

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News 12 This Morning/Friday, April 18, 2014

(WRDW) -- Just over a year ago, Marie Gunter, 1st grade teacher at W.S. Hornsby Elementary, went out into the community asking for help to take her students out of the classroom and into the sunshine.

"I went literally door to door through our community and asked people to donate dirt and donate wood and donate their time," Gunter said.

That's how the W.S. Hornsby K-8 community garden was born where the entire school helps foster five garden beds.

"Pretty much all classes do come out especially when they're studying a certain unit," Gunter said. "What they're learning they can use. And that's one thing that we're looking to do is to arm them with some marketable skills."

And this garden isn't only used for teaching purposes.

This year they're growing potatoes, carrots, corn, beans and various other food staples and once they're ready, the class harvests them to give back to the community.

"Even though they love being out in the garden, the thing they love most is when the soup kitchen comes and they can give them the food," Gunter said.

Giving back is an issue she says--hits close to home.

"I had a student and he and his family just had a hard time finding enough food," Gunter said. "That's when I decided to make it my mission to start a garden here."

Now she and students at Horsnby are asking for the community's help again after the school's applied to win a $20,000 grant from national retailer, Seeds of Change.

"The top 50 institutions will go on to the final judging phase," Gunter said.

She says if they win they've got big plans for the cash.

"We want to offer summer garden camps to students in our area and then garden classes throughout the year," Gunter said. "Please vote for us! Please. We can't do this. The good that can come for our community cannot even be measured."

And that money will go toward more than just students at Hornsby.

They also plan to use the money to fund several community gardens across the area, and to bring in mobile app designers to help middle school students build an app that will allow students across the area to document their garden's growth.

Voting is opening until April 22. You can vote once a day online.

Click here to vote.

Just click the "Seeds of Change Grant" and search zip code 30901 to find Hornsby and vote.

Check out more about the Hornsby Community garden and the community partners who've helped make it all possible, click the "Hornsby Community Garden" link.

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