By Prairey Walkling–SDSU Extension
Tauna Ireland can’t wait to get back in the garden. As SDSU Extension Summer Program Leader in 2020, Ireland focused mainly on production and grew nearly 450 lbs. of food that was distributed free to Martin residents. A wide variety of produce and herbs were grown, along with piles of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. In 2021, Ireland will continue to oversee the garden in Sunrise Housing (near the playground and Youth Center) and hopes to safely involve more community members in the garden. “Kids in the Garden” classes will be offered to local youth. Ireland and other community volunteers were not able to hold their popular after school classes, Kids in the Kitchen, this year but are hoping to invite many of the same youth to participate in the summer series. Local youth will have the opportunity to learn hands-on about growing food and how to cook with produce from the garden. Families and individuals are also invited to come help in the garden. Ireland plans on distributing produce similarly to last year, in cooperation with the Community Action office and by setting up a table on Fridays with produce available for community members to stop by and pick up.
Sunrise Community Garden has recently received two grants that will assist in these efforts. Farm Credit Services of America has provided $2000 which will be used for improvements to the garden area such as a fence, fruit trees, and a picnic table. In addition to these funds, Kids Gardening recently selected Sunrise Community Garden as one of the top five winners out of 800 entries. This $1750 award package includes $250 and a variety of garden supplies including seeds, two mushroom growing kits, gardening gloves, a countertop garden system, and a $1000 customizable tool package from Corona.
SDSU Extension would like to extend our thanks to our local partners that make this garden possible: Sunrise Housing/Oglala Sioux Tribe, Bennett County 4-H, Kids in the Kitchen, Martin Wellness Coalition, and Sinte Gleska University Community Greenhouse. To learn more about the garden, get in touch with Tauna Ireland, follow our Facebook page, Sunrise Community Garden, and check out the Martin Wellness Coalition page on Martin Chamber of Commerce’s website, https://www.martinsd.net/