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Sunday 0%
High 63° / Low 48°
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Clear. Lows overnight in the upper 40s.
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Monday 10%
High 70° / Low 45°
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Sunny skies. High around 70F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.
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High 64° / Low 39°
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Mainly sunny. High 64F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph.
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High 59° / Low 45°
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Showers in the morning, then cloudy in the afternoon. High 54F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
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High 62° / Low 48°
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Considerable clouds early. Some decrease in clouds later in the day. High 58F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.

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South Middle School students tending garden for 4th year

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Raytown South Middle School students are mimicking the moves of local gardeners, as they once again break ground in their school garden.

Initially started with funding from a Raytown Educational Foundation Grant in 2011, by sponsors Heather Reardon and Kevin Easley, the garden is now in ints 4th year and several hundred students have been involved with planting, weeding, watering and harvesting throughout the years.

The school has  partnered with Kansas City Community Gardens since 2011. The first year KCCG came out and students helped build 4 raised beds. Teachers Nancy Booth, Kristie Hudson, Kelcey McCauley and Natalie Kane all have students from their Advisory classes helping this year.

“The farm-to-table movement has been ?really big the past several years in the food industry.  I saw the school garden as a way for kids to learn about where their food comes from-that to grow a potato you plant a potato and to grow peas you plant a pea,” Reardon said.

“I also wanted our kids to have the opportunity to try new foods they may never have had before. I have found kids are a lot more interested in trying new things when they have been involved in the process from the beginning-planting the seed, watering, weeding, etc. They have a lot of pride and become protective of what they grow.”

Reardon takes students out a few times a week to do maintenance, and they use some of the harvested items for cooking in her Family and Consumer Science classes. This year they have planted spinach, broccoli, carrots, Swiss Chard, rainbow chard, mustard greens, green onions, radishes, arugula, sugar snap peas, and purple potatoes, all of which should be ready for harvest by the end of the school year.

Items not used in the cooking classes are for the students to take home and enjoy, and when there has been a surplus, the gardeners have donated the fresh produce to Raytown Emergency Assistance Program.

“The garden has not been without problems,” Reardon said.  “The first year, we had geese eating the produce and students were outraged!”

Some years the group has planted over the summer-tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, but maintaining the garden becomes a struggle when school is out, according to Reardon.

“I would love to make it more of a community garden and have parents come and help on a rotation over the summer, and then they would keep what they grow.”

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