Falconer Key Club Looks To Feed Hungry With Community Garden

Matt Moore, FCS junior, watered plants inside a Falconer Central School greenhouse that will one day feed the hungry in Chautauqua County.

FALCONER – After providing assistance to the impoverished in the Dominican Republic, the Falconer Key Club looks to feed the hungry in Chautauqua County.

Comprised of Falconer Central School students in grades nine through 12, the Key Club has been growing produce in the school-based green house in anticipation of the community garden’s creation. On Thursday, the first set of lumber was delivered to club representatives that will be used to build the garden that will be accompanied by a shed.

Produce from the garden will then be donated to feed the hungry in the county.

Students have been working on the soon-to-be constructed community garden during study hall periods since February. The Key Club is looking to grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, onions, beans, carrots, radishes and artichoke – many of which have already been planted.

Mary Plumb, Key Club advisor, and Matt Moore, FCS junior, were unloading lumber Thursday when they discussed the overall goal of the garden.

Plumb said the club, which has often provided support to charities and communities in need around the world, wanted to give back to the community that has supported it over the years.

“We’ve been thinking about this since we got back from the Dominican,” she said. “We’re ready to go.”

In 2017, the students traveled to the Dominican Republic where they built water distribution systems in rural mountain villages.

The Falconer Key Club was chartered in 2011 with the mission to develop leadership skills in students while giving them experience participating in community service programs. The group raised more than $2,000 for the Buffalo Ronald McDonald House in 2016.

The planned garden, that will be fit with a shed near the school’s tennis courts, is in association with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening’s Gro More Grassroots Grants initiatives. This year, alone, the gardening-related program has provided a total of $100,000 in grant funding throughout the U.S.

The seeds were donated from a farm in California called Peaceful Valley Farm Supply. The grant money was used to purchase the lumber for the garden. Additional supplies were funded by donations and money raised through fundraising events like the club’s April 13 Bunny Hop 5K. The lumber is Larch wood that is rot resistance and contains no chemicals, a decision the students made.

Monetary donors include SKF Aerospace of Falconer, Falconer Kiwanis, Barton Tools, Falconer Moose Lena’s Pizza and Southern Tier Pediatrics. Jamestown Macadam donated top soil.

“When we get the garden constructed were going to use the produce to help the hungry kids in the area,” Plumb said.

Plumb expects the shed to be constructed and placed in its designated location on school grounds in a few weeks. The plants, currently growing inside the school, will then be transferred to the new location the Key Club hopes to maintain indefinitely.

“We’re committed to sustaining this as long as we can,” Plumb said.