Library helps kids, plants grow together

Kelli Rollin
Ilene Pevec of Fat City Farmers leads youngsters Wednesday in planting the needed ingredients for salsa at the Glenwood Springs library.
Kelli Rollin / Post Independent |

Kids went to work Wednesday, with sounds of patting hands and running water all around.

The Glenwood Springs Branch Library planted small gardens in the front plaza and involved children age 6 and younger in the process.

Ilene Pevec of Fat City Farmers, a local organization dedicated to food education, brought the plants and helped cultivate the soil.

This is the first year the Glenwood library has done this gardening project. All Garfield County library branches are doing or have done the same in the past, with the help of a $1,500 LiveWell grant from the Garfield County Public Health Department to purchase supplies.

“Libraries are such phenomenal resources for education, including gardening,” Pevec said, as she dug deep holes in pots for tomato plants.

The library had three large planter pots filled with soil, so the garden was planted in them. Among the planted crops were: sweet and hot peppers, cilantro, tomatoes, basil and onions — most of the ingredients for salsa.

About 25 kids rushed out of the library after story time to help plant the three garden pots.

“That’s great — now bring the soil around it,” Pevec said as she coached the children through the planting process. “Pat it down. Good job!”

As the sun beat down, only a handful of kids endured the whole process of planting the three pots.

Georgia Underwood, 4, and Olivia Drake, 5, were among the few who stayed to plant most of the pots.

Georgia’s mom, Michelle, said her daughter likes to dig in the dirt, explaining why Georgia said, “the digging” was her favorite part about gardening.

While Georgia likes preparing to plant, Olivia said her favorite part would be reaping the benefits.

“I like watering the plants because after, they grow,” Olivia said.

The New Castle Branch Library planted its garden in May, while the Carbondale Library is set to plant on June 24.

Sue Schnitzer, branch manager in Glenwood, said the library plans an event to use the salsa crops, but that’s still in the works.

“Now when the kids come to story time, they can check on how their plants are doing,” Schnitzer said.

Pevec, who has done research on involving children in gardening, said projects like this one serve as a gateway for people to learn to care for the Earth.

“They’re (the kids who garden) so proud when they pick what they eat,” Pevec said.

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