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Bellevue's BELL Garden educates kids, feeds locals

Scenes form Bellevue's BELL Garden
Scenes form Bellevue's BELL GardenKathryn Darden

Bellevue is now the proud site of BELL Garden, a one-acre community garden that is now open to the public two days a week as a pick-your-own produce patch. Located on Colice Jean Rd. right down the street from Red Caboose Park, the garden sits next to Bellevue Middle School.

Bellevue:s BELL Garden
Bellevue:s BELL GardenKathryn Darden

The one-acre organic garden was started as a plot for Bellevue Middle School and was dubbed The Bellevue Edible Learning Lab - or BELL Garden. Now the non-profit garden hosts "pick-your-own hours" produce sales.

In addition to receiving grants, the garden makes money on the sale of its produce including a fruit orchard, herbs, corn, tomatoes, blueberries, summer squash, and okra as well as 10 laying hens, so eggs are also for sale during "pick-your-own hours." BELL Garden's fresh produce reportedly costs close to grocery story prices.

In addition to its produce patch, BELL Garden lives up to its name by boasting a beautiful flowering garden area complete with picnic tables and benches. Late summer flowers including sun flowers were in when I visited in early September.

The garden not only feeds locals, but also donates to the Bellevue United Methodist Church's food pantry.

The BELL Garden's stated purpose is: "to cultivate, guide, and encourage shared community values of healthy living and lifelong learning." To support this mission the garden provides practical learning opportunities for residents of the community in a setting that promotes physical activity, healthy eating, environmental stewardship, and multi-cultural connections for all generations.

Some of the activities include classroom lessons in the garden, community events, garden workdays, an after-school garden program, and produce tastings.

BELL Garden is open Tuesdays from 5:00 pm until dusk and Saturdays from 9:00 am until noon.
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