The Redwood Area Early Childhood Coalition is getting ready to get its hands dirty as it moves forward with what is known as the Apple Gourd project. The project, which is being funded through grant dollars from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, is going to include two major projects at a site near the Redwood Valley Middle School / High School campus.
The first is the development of a community garden, with a natural play area also being implemented in the same location.
In order to move ahead with the project, those who have been working on the planning stage are hosting a community informational meeting one week from today at the Redwood Falls Public Library starting at 5 p.m.
The Jan. 24 meeting is going to provide attendees with the chance to learn more about the project and to allow those who have not yet been involved to join the initiative in one of a variety of different capacities.
According to Teri Smith of the coalition, the group received a planning grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and the coalition spend the past year putting together not only what it wants to do but some of the outcomes it hopes to accomplish through its project.
Michelle Breidenbach, who had been serving as the program grant manager, has stepped down because she has taken a different career direction, but as she is planning to stay in Redwood Falls is going to continue to be involved with the project.
According to Breidenbach and Smith, the focus of the initiative is to work with low income families with children ages zero to five, as well as pregnant moms.
The intent is to help them learn about gardening from the time seeds are planted until the food is on the table.
“This really is a community project,” said Breiden-bach. “We want to connect everyone together and to help families who need it in our community.”
The natural play area is not a playground as one might find in a park with swings and slides added Breidenbach.
Rather it is a place where kids can enjoy being active in a setting that has natural elements, such as rocks, trees and sand.
The project is looking for people in several groups, including a site group which would help to prepare the site (located next to the FFA garden), an education group that would help families learn more about gardening, a group dedicated to the natural play area development, a promotion and marketing group and a recruitment and referral group. Anyone who might be interested in being involved is encouraged to attend the meeting.
Those who are planning to attend are asked to contact Smith at (507) 644-8939. One may also send information via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.