Allison Cooley is an MTCC AmeriCorps Summer Associate VISTA serving with the FoodCorps team in Glendive.
“Did he just say potato paste?” Anne asks me as we are playing a game of vegetable/fruit charades with the 4-11 year olds at the Glendive Boys and Girls Club.
“I think so…” I reply. We both look down at the little blond-haired boy stretched out on the floor. Our game of charades was getting complicated!
An ongoing source of joy and frustration is my class of 30+ kids at the local Boys and Girls Club. The first day I hauled in numerous herbs and plants for the kids to explore. Rosemary, apple mint, honey melon sage, and even a miniature pomegranate tree were passed around, tasted, and smelled. Their favorite was “root beer” agastache, an herb that smells exactly like root beer. The kids were amazed, which made me excited for the next class!
However, a challenge arrived a week after the potato paste incident, when over 1000 tomato plants were donated for our experimental garden. I spent days planting them alongside the rhubarb, asparagus, strawberries, and raspberries. Unfortunately, soon after I finished planting, the weatherman predicted 100+ degree weather, and we had no way to water all the tomato plants I had just finished putting in the ground. Luckily, my supervisor saved the day and showed up with drip line, which I proceeded to install on our 300 ft rows of tomatoes. I’m happy to report the tomatoes are now doing very well, even though I am getting a little behind on the weeds.
Serving as a Summer Associate in my hometown of Glendive, I have learned so much about gardening and teaching from members of my community that I never would have met otherwise. It has definitely been an enlightening experience, and I feel fortunate to see my community from a different point of view.