VAN WERT – The Marsh Foundation ‘Marsh Grown’ garden program celebrated the end of the summer growing season with a Harvest Meal for staff, peers and Trustees. The meal was held recently at the First Presbyterian Church in Van Wert and featured many items grown in The Marsh Foundation garden as well as other local products. It was entirely prepared by the garden crew.

According to Marsh Foundation activities coordinator, Sherry Grone, this year’s program has been very successful in her eyes. “Our crew has had the chance to grow in maturity, responsibility and respect through our garden program,” she said. “I also hope they have grown in respect for themselves as they develop new confidence through their job skills. One of the program’s goals is to guide them to a hope for their future; to help them connect to the larger community and find their place and maybe even their passion in the process.”

The Marsh Grown youth garden program is dedicated to helping young people develop a sense of land stewardship and learn the importance of healthy food. Participants are taught valuable gardening skills throughout the season. In addition, the program serves as a catalyst for youth to develop important job skills for future employment.

Throughout the summer, the garden crew grows vegetables and sells them at the farmer’s market for income. The group will continue to be at the Van Wert Farmer’s Market on Fox Road on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. through October.

Participants in the Marsh Grown garden crew are youth who are a part of The Marsh Foundation’s Independent Living Group. They are all 15 ½ years of age or older and are working on skills that will help them be successful adults. The garden program is an opportunity for them to interact with peers and adults, develop quality job skills and learn how to grow healthy food.