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Students Harvest Thousands of Pounds of Turnips
It's a lot of work and a lot of fun for the Athens FFA members who help maintain the Springfield Farm Service Agency community garden. It's a project that provides thousands of pounds of food for the food bank.
Students pulled, piled, carried and loaded up trucks full of turrnips and it's all donated to the Central Illinois Food Bank.
"It's a lot of work, but it's going for a good cause and that makes all of us feel good about ourselves," said Athens High School freshman, Ashley Defenbaugh.
The seventeen FFA members from Athens High School work hours to harvest thousands of pounds of turnips at the Springfield Farm Service Agency community garden.
"It's pretty fun. You get to pull turnips. Some big ones and some small ones," said Athens High School freshman, Jessica Harding.
The community garden was created in 2009. When First Lady Michelle Obama helped establish a community garden on the White House lawn, the U.S. Department of Agriculture challenged FSA offices to do the same.
"There's a lot of need for food. And the food bank says every year the numbers increase," said Mary Kirby of the Farm Service Agency.
Nearly 4,500 pounds of crops were already harvested from the garden at the end of the summer. Then five pounds of turnip seed was planted.
"They take it to the high rises and the elderly people love the turnips. So it's something we can plant and have a fall crop," said Kirby.
Students say harvesting turnips is not only fun, it's hands-on learning.
"It's good to get outside instead of staying in classrooms all the time and experience other things because sometimes you can learn from more than just a classroom or a teacher," said Jelena Parsons, a freshman at Athens High School.
That's just one more reason why the hours spent picking turnips pays off. "It's well worth it," said Kirby.
The grand total of turnips harvested from the FSA community garden so far is nearly 10,750 pounds. There's still about a quarter of that amount left to pull up next week.
In Springfield, Lindsey Hess, ABC NewsChannel 20.