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Veggie tales: bringing a community together

Students from Patriot Academy created a vegetable garden for the Madison Senior Center.

A party was given Wednesday afternoon in celebration of Patriot Academy building a vegetable garden for the Madison City Senior Center. Natalie Buckley Rowland, director of the senior center, said the party was also meant to celebrate the relationship they have with Patriot Academy.

Coach Steve Bourque of Patriot Academy explained this is part of a service learning project, where academics are blended with community service.

As for how it was decided to have a vegetable garden built, Buckley Rowland said this: “I knew that they wanted to do something that would be an intergenerational program with the seniors. So we felt here that if they had vegetables, they could really watch the process of them growing, have somewhat of a harvest when they grew and give the vegetables out to people.”

Patriot Academy receives money through a grant supported through State Farm Insurance. That money funded the project, as well as paid for the celebration.

Seniors and students alike were served hamburgers, hotdogs, jambalaya (homemade by Bourque) and chips and salsa.

Vegetables have yet to be planted in the garden, but Buckley Rowland said they were considering planting heirloom tomatoes, summer squash and peppers, among other things.

Buckley Rowland said the senior center is open five days a week and offers a variety of programs, such as art and computer classes. There will even be a Zumba class soon.

“It’s a great place to be, even if someone isn’t a senior and they want to come here to look at what we do,” Buckley Rowland said. “We welcome everybody from this community to come.”

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