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Caleb’s contribution to his community

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Caleb Brenner is an avid gardener. He started gardening when he was two years old on his grandfather’s farm near Argyle, Man., and hasn’t stopped since. 

Caleb is in Grade 4 at Clifton School and this fall and last fall he donated all the vegetables he grew to the school (with some help from his father and grandfather).

When I asked him what gave him the idea of donating his harvest to Clifton School he said: "Helping the community."

All the proceeds from the subsequent vegetable sale go towards paying for field trips, special projects and subsidizing major school-wide events.

This summer he grew about 1,000 corn-on-the-cob, 150 onions, 300 potatoes, between 50 and 75 pumpkins, tomatoes, carrots and squash, cauliflower, beets and green and yellow beans.

Even though it is lots of work, Caleb thinks growing vegetables if fun.

"First the field has to be plowed. Then water the field a bit so it is moist and easier to dig into. Lastly, put the seeds in the ground and water them and hope for a lot of sunny days."

When I asked him how often he has to water, he said, "it depends on the produce. Onions and carrots, every two or three days. Corn, every day or two. The hotter it is the more often you water. It takes about three months to grow anything, except radishes grow in about 20 days."

Caleb thinks eating the vegetables after he grows them is the most important part of gardening.

"You go to the garden and pick a carrot and wash it and then eat it. People work hard at growing the perfect-looking carrot but sometimes the ugliest one tastes the best," he said.

Does it taste better when you grow it yourself?

"Yes, by far, way better when it is farm fresh."

Personally I think Caleb is right when he says that "farm fresh" is better. I bought quite a bit of produce at the school and have to say it all tasted a lot better than what I buy at the grocery stores. The corn was especially delicious.

Caleb had help from his classmates packaging the vegetables, about five from his class, and all the children from Grade 6.  

This year the profit from his contribution was $2,000.

Last year he raised $1,800. He plans to donate his harvest to Clifton School again next fall.

Arny Hjaltadottir is a community correspondent for the West End.

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