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Community Garden Built By Northside High School Students Wins $20,000 Grant

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A community garden, built by students at Northside High School in Fort Smith, beat out 851 other community gardens across the country ...

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- A community garden, built by students at Northside High School in Fort Smith, beat out 851 other community gardens across the country to win a $20,000 grant Tuesday night (May 3).

The garden, which consists of 22 raised beds was created earlier this year and is located on North 8th Street between K and L streets. Those who worked to put the project together named it the "Antioch Discovery Garden".

Organizers said the idea behind the garden is to teach young, low-income students how to grow their own food as well as how to make low-cost healthy meals. Students aren't the only ones using the garden, though. Charolette Tidwell, who runs the Antioch For Youth and Family's Community Food Pantry, spearheaded the project and teamed up with the Mercy Trailblazers and other community members to make the project a reality.

Together, they relied on donations through the City of Fort Smith and a number of retailers to get the compost and plants while students in a woodworking class at Northside High School constructed and installed the garden beds.

With the grant money, organizers said they plan to install an irrigation system to ensure the plants survive the hot summer. Organizers also said they'll purchase more learning material for the students so they can continue to learn more about gardening.

The grant was through a Program called "Seeds of Change", which granted $20,000 to three other community gardens across the country as well.  To read more about that specific program, click here.

UPDATE: Students from Howard, Spradling, Sutton and Tilles Elementary planted flowers and fruit and vegetable plants.

The children will be able to take the food home after it grows, and Tidwell said they'll also be helping deliver food to the Antioch senior mobile pantry.

Tidwell said the next project will be for the kids to plant fruit trees.

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