In the summer of 2015, Katie Benatovich  coordinated a team of students to grow fresh vegetables to give to the local food pantry. Katrina DeChane, Brooke Butler, Courtney Venturin, Oliva Knab, Sarah Weber and Lita Conklin dedicated many hours outside of school and during their summer vacation.

Everyone worked under the tutelage of Pat Kerl, who is a Master Gardener, to develop the Ellicottville’s Community Garden, located at the United Church on Elizabeth Street.

The ground was prepared in April and three new raised beds were made, courtesy of local businessmen Paul Timkey and Michael Stang. Aged manure was donated by Annie Widger and her husband, which enhanced the soil with all the nutrients the vegetables would need at the start of our garden. Norman Lacy and Cathy Lacy donated manure and straw at the end to prepare the bed for winter. The Ellicottville Rotary Foundation for Youth donated marigold flowers, which act as a natural pesticide. Kerl also donated tomato plants, broccoli plants, seeds and lent us her gardening tools.

Just after Memorial Day in May, everything was planted and then a team, including Annette Auteri, helped to water the beds. ,Susan Avery from Southern Tier West helped plant, weed and showed the group how to make pea tee pees.

The students enjoyed a special lunch and received certificates of recognition for their outstanding community service.

The 2016 team is growing and they will be planting on Friday, June 10 at 3:30 p.m. They have an assortment of seeds for carrots, lettuce and spinach, but are asking for the following donations: 12 tomato plants, eight broccoli plants, six celery plants, four cucumber plants, 12 marigold plants, 10 pairs gardening gloves, 10 trowels, one wheelbarrow, two basil plants, two cilantro plants, one shovel, one rake and 10 small forks.

Please drop off any donations  on Friday, June 10 to the United Church on Elizabeth Street.

Thank you for your support!