Bryan Mann helps a group of St. Patrick School children plant potatoes in a garden bed northwest of the school. The garden is an effort to improve the health of the children and the neighborhood. (Advance photo)

Students at St. Patrick Catholic school in Wichita are growing up – and growing vegetables.
A garden has been installed in a lot northwest of the school by Children First of Kansas, a nonprofit organization whose goals are to increase fresh food eating habits for students and their families, address food insecurities, and decrease obesity and diet-related diseases.
Lori Barnes, a social worker with Children First, said the teaching garden at Saint Patrick is helping the neighborhood in addition to educating children.
“What this will do is provide nutritious food for the people in the area who have food insecurity and to go to the Lord’s Pantry, the local food pantry,” she said. “This will improve the nutrition of our students and then also improve their lives.”
Young students planted cabbage seedlings, onion bulbs, and potatoes Tuesday, April 10, in 10 raised 4' by 12' beds. Additional vegetables will be planted as soil temperatures warm.
Children First will construct eight additional raised beds this summer and plan to install more garden beds on the north side of the lot next year.
A Vista volunteer, Alf Martin, oversees the garden with the assistance of board member Bryan Mann.