MSS students’ garden to feed those in need

Produce harvested from the student-planted garden will be given to Mission's New Heights Ministries

Students Angela Obasohan

A Mission secondary student’s idea for a community garden has sprouted into more than just a few vegetables in the plots on the northeastern hill behind the school.

Grade 9 student Tye Petty first became inspired to be active in his community when he attended “We Day” in Vancouver two years ago. This annual youth empowerment event held in cities across Canada encourages kids to become involved in the leadership organization.

Last June, Tye decided he wanted to go to California for the Me to We “Take Action Academy,” a week-long, social justice-themed summer camp.

Tye’s mother Karen said she let her then-13-year-old son go to California by himself, a vote of confidence in his maturity and ambitions.

Tye returned to Mission determined to start a Me to We club at MSS and the community garden project was born.

“I basically asked my friends and they said all right, we’ll help,” says Tye matter-of-factly while shrugging off credit. “Everybody contributed to it. Ideas kept rolling in.”

Tye was helped by his younger brother Chris, as well as Angela, Claiyton, Derian, and other students.

They were originally planning to plant the garden on the south-facing hillside behind the school, but it was too steep. So it was moved to overlook the football field with two plots of vegetables planted in early April.

The students also received community help. Rona donated $250 and lumber materials for the planter boxes, while the MSS parent advisory committee donated $100 for seeds, and Davies Sand and Gravel donated soil and delivered it to the site.

Tye said he’s proud that when the radishes, onions, lettuce, and other fresh produce is fully grown, the students will deliver it to the New Heights Street Hope Ministries on North Railway Avenue, which provides food six days a week from 8 to 10 a.m. to approximately 70 needy people.

Karen said vegetables should be a welcome culinary addition, since many food services programs dole out non-perishable food items.

Tye has plans beyond vegetables, too.

“We had the idea of putting flowers in it for a fundraiser. So building maybe a flower box growing tulips and stuff like that and then having a flower sale,” he said, with proceeds going to a similar charitable cause.

Karen said initiatives like this are important not only for the kids, but for the community, adding the Mission Communities in Bloom Society has taken interest in the project.

Tye used social media to chronicle the group’s project, which can be read at www.twitter.com/mssgarden.