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School garden in Hamburg turns to the Internet

A school-community garden in Hamburg is turning to the Internet to raise money.

The Giving Garden, sponsored by Seeds of Living Education – or SOLE– started a “gofundme” Internet campaign that had raised more than $300 in a day.

“It’s very exciting,” said volunteer coordinator Tricia Miller.

SOLE was created in 2009, and it used a grant to create a raised-bed community garden at Union-Pleasant Elementary School. The garden was planted by children in the spring. Families take turns tending the garden during the summer, and teachers incorporate the garden into their lesson plans.

And the garden concept grew.

The Union-Pleasant group provided seed money for gardens at Charlotte Avenue and Boston Valley elementary schools and at Hamburg Middle School. Armor Elementary will start a garden next year, Miller said.

And like all nonprofit groups, members have to raise money to exist. They have put on a well-attended harvest dinner, but it takes a lot of time to organize, Miller said.

“We could be putting more of that time to better use by spending time in classroom, taking more field trips,” she said.

So the group started a campaign with gofundme, a fundraising website. The Giving Garden page is at

The goal is $3,000. Miller said the harvest dinner usually raised $5,000 to $6,000, but the group did not want to ask for too much in its first online venture.

The group also started Twitter and Instagram accounts to help reach more people, particularly youths who don’t check their email or Facebook accounts, she said.

“A lot of classrooms in Hamburg have Twitter accounts with kids,” she said.

And just to make sure children don’t forget about the garden over the long winter months, they did some gardening on Sunday: winter sowing on the solstice.

They planted greens, leeks and flower seeds Sunday in recycled containers like milk jugs, and will leave them to the elements over the winter. The result in the spring will be seedlings that are more quickly acclimated to the outdoors. Planting during the winter also keeps the children interested in the garden year-round.

The online fundraiser will help support that type of programming.

“We would just like to be able to support the gardens we inspired, and maybe get a few more programs out there,” Miller said.