Scout's idea sprouts

Girl Scout Ambassador Kyra TerLouw, 16, created and donated 32 container garden kits to families at the Grand Junction Community Food Bank, earning her Girl Scout Gold Award.

Combining gardening, community service and Girl Scouts was a natural fit for 16-year-old Kyra TerLouw.

Kyra is working toward the organization's highest honor, the Gold Award, after nearly 12 years as a scout.

She already had a garden at home and was involved in the aquaponics club at Grand Junction High School, and she wanted to find a way for families to easily grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Enter container gardening, a simple way to start growing your own food, particularly with limited space.

Kyra created container garden kits made up of two-gallon plastic tubs, soil, three types of vegetable seeds and directions and gave them to 32 families at the Community Food Bank of Grand Junction.

Reactions ranged from a simple "thank you" to tears of gratitude, Kyra said.

"There was a mom who came in with four girls and she had told her kids the day before that they weren't able to grow their own garden this year," she said. "They weren't able to purchase seed packets or get soil and it was something the kids were looking forward to. So when I came in and presented her with the kit, she started crying."

Food bank Executive Director Marsha Kosteva said she was delighted when Kyra approached her with the idea last year.

"Any time we can engage our families and kids in learning about where their food comes from, growing fresh produce and enjoying it, I'm all in favor of it," she said.

Kyra's kits included seeds for lettuce and spinach as well as tomatoes, carrots, radishes or beets.

"I hope people will be intrigued by it and continue gardening," she said.

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