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An inquisitive group of pre-kindergarten students will be growing strawberries, lettuce, broccoli and other produce in their garden at Sheridan Elementary School this spring.

The children will grow their garden with the help of a raised bed garden kit and organic compost they received as winners of a contest sponsored by sod and grass seed supplier Super-Sod.

Claire Goldmintz’s pre-K class was among 100 winners across the Southeast to receive the garden kits and organic compost soil to grow their own garden, which Goldmintz said will promote healthy living and foster an appreciation for the work that farmers do.

Super-Sod Assistant Marketing Director Allison Fortner said the company, which is a division of Patten Seed Company, views the contest as part of its public outreach.

“We have an organic humus compost product called Soil3. We’ve given away 100 of our raised bed garden kits, including a cubic yard of the organic compost Soil3. The people who won were nominated by outside parties," Fortner said. "We gave away the kits to deserving families in need as based on the nomination reasons, or community gardens like the one at the elementary school."

Goldmintz said, “At the back of the school, we have a garden that’s already there,” which has been somewhat neglected. “So pre-K is hoping to inspire the rest of the school to beautify our current garden with the one that we’ll be planting and hopefully teach everyone what the farmers in our area do," she said

Martha Burleson, the office manager of Super-Sod of South Carolina in Orangeburg and Super-Sod transportation driver Rex Larkin visited Sheridan on Feb. 9 to deliver the pre-K class’ supplies.

Burleson said the Orangeburg Super-Sod facility donated an extra Big Yellow Bag of Soil3 organic humus compost, along with an extra raised garden kit. The kits include one easy-to-assemble, rot-resistant raised bed garden, with the bag of humus compost being enough to fill the bed and have soil left over for additional gardening projects.

“We did give them a few plants to get them started like strawberries, broccoli and lettuce, things we thought kids might like,” Burleson said.

“The Soil3 compost is what we create here on our farms. Farming is very important to us, and kids being healthy is also very important,” she said, noting that the company is proud to be able to “nurture tomorrow’s farmers and create an appreciation for people who are in agriculture.”

Goldmintz said her students are studying farming in class and the garden kits will bring the lessons to life.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity for the kids to realize what farmers actually do, that it’s not just about putting seeds in the ground. Actually, the kids just think farming is about bringing fruits and vegetables to the grocery store, but they are grown,” said the teacher, who is assisted in the classroom by Gwynette Polite.

Sheridan Elementary Principal Sammie Gordon Jr. said he hopes the children learn the value of teamwork, too, as they work in their little gardens.

“I went them to have the joy of finding out the reward you get from actually planting something and seeing the results of it," Gordon said. "We’re trying to instill in them that hard work pays of."

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter @DionneTandD.

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Staff Writer

Dionne Gleaton has been a staff writer with The T&D for 20 years. She has been an education reporter, regional reporter and currently writes features with an emphasis on health.

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