Henry Puffer wins national grant to create edible garden

Girl Scouts launched garden project at “The Big Dig” event Saturday

A little rain didn’t deter Henry Puffer Girl Scout Troop 51266 and their community partners from planting an organic edible garden during “The Big Dig” event at their school on Saturday, May 20.

Troop 51266, which comprises fourth graders, won a $3,000 Grants for Gardens national grant from Annie’s Foods, an organic food chain. Henry Puffer was the only Illinois school to receive this grant this year. The girls partnered with Downers Grove Organic Gardeners, Bros@Work and all Henry Puffer Girl Scout troops to hold “The Big Dig.” More than 40 volunteers attended the event.

“I am incredibly proud of Henry Puffer Girl Scout Troop 51266,” said Henry Puffer Principal Todd McDaniel. “From applying for the garden grant, to collaborating on the garden, these girls, their troop leaders and our community partners all exhibited tenacity toward helping the greater good.”

The Girl Scouts used their grant funding to build three 3’x9’ raised beds, a 2’x5’ herb garden, several pots, a compost bin, tool shed and fencing. They also installed a rain barrel irrigation system, which will catch recycled rainwater from the school roof and use it to water the garden.

“More than 20 varieties of seeds were planted, along with more than 20 plants, all organic!” added Lisa Burkhart, Troop 51266 co-leader and garden coordinator.

In addition, the Girl Scout troops painted beautiful, whimsical elements on several rain barrels, garden stakes, ladybug rocks and rainmakers, which they placed throughout the garden.

Girl Scout Troop 51266 applied for the Annie’s Foods grant as part of their Juniors Bronze Award initiative. This initiative asks girls to demonstrate their commitment to helping others, improving the community and the world, and becoming the best they can be.

“The goal is to teach kids about where their food comes from, nutrition and healthy eating habits, as well as how to garden and take care of the Earth,” Burkhart said. “It will also serve all grades as an outdoor classroom for all sorts of subjects and be a great addition to the Puffer campus. A longer range goal is to supply some of the harvested food to our Puffer families, especially families in need.”