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11-Year-Old Plants Food Pantry Garden

Fresh food isn't always available at food pantries, but it will be at Joyce Uptown Foodshelf in Minneapolis, Minnesota, thanks to Silja Bijnagte. Her determination to build raised garden beds brought together volunteers from Lake Harriet United Methodist Church in a common goal of serving their neighbors – one carrot at a time. 

(Locator: Minneapolis, MN)

Silja Bijnagte: "I like carrots. I like most vegetables."

Silja Bijnagte sprouted an idea for a Minneapolis Food pantry while volunteering with her United Methodist church.

Silja Bijnagte, Lake Harriet United Methodist Church: "I knew that people here don't get as much fresh food as most people need and I came up with building gardens."

Beth Ann Dodds, Joyce Uptown Foodshelf: "She got the lumber donated, the seeds donated, the soil donated, enlisted the help of her family and friends and they all came together on a Saturday afternoon and built the boxes and put them in."

(Silja pointing to plans) "This one is the scale drawing."

The Rev. Melanie Homan, Lake Harriet United Methodist Church: "Silja and her family are very active at Lake Harriet United Methodist Church. When she put out the call on Sunday morning for volunteers on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, it was amazing to see the response and the number of people who showed up ready to saw and drill and dig in the dirt and get the work done all in a day. And it's just been a delight to see the way our congregation, which is very intergenerational, rallies around the kids and the youth and their ideas and to help them make them come to life."

Eleven-year-old Silja and volunteers will tend the gardens, picking fresh vegetables for the 800 people a month the pantry serves.

Melanie Homan: "Young people like Silja, they are leaders already and it's important for me to empower people when they have ideas and dreams about how to make the world a better place. It reinforces for them a lifelong mission of being in service to others."

Joyce Uptown Foodshelf is a community outreach of Lake Harriet United Methodist Church, where Silja Bijnagte is an active part of the congregation.

More more information contact Joyce Uptown Foodshelf at 612-825-4431.

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.
Media contact is Joe Iovino.

This video was first posted on May 20, 2017.