Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Youth Continue Gardening Tradition

Each year, Tina VanZile, Environmental Director, mentors youth in the tradition of gardening. This year is no exception, and Tina and four interns planted hay bales on Monday.

“I’ve always wanted a community garden, and this is manageable. I wanted a project for the kids, and something that I can manage when they go back to school,” Tina said.

“On Monday, the youth planted zucchini, three kinds of squash, four varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, celery, jalapenos, and swiss chard. We also added sunflowers. We haven’t done flowers before, and thought they would look nice,” Tina explained.

This year’s interns are Serena Poler (freshman), Macy Poler (sophomore), Hutson Kane (junior) and crew leader Sage Dalton (2019 graduate).

“It’s their project,” Tina said. “I showed them what to do and created a calendar, and they are managing the garden.”

The project began with preparations two weeks ago. Tina explained, “The bales were conditioned for 12 days. They were watered, fertilized and seeded. On the 13th day, the inside of the bales break down, become warm and are now organic.”

The interns are now responsible for the care of the bales throughout the summer. While they are paid for their weekday work hours, their time outside of work is volunteered. “This teaches them that even though they’re doing this as a work project, sometimes you’ll have to volunteer,” Tina added.

The bounty from the garden will be given away to Elders and community members. For more information, contact Tina at 715-478-7605.