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GROW accepts entries for Bountiful Garden Tour competition

Kaitlyn Riley

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GROW announced the opening of its first-ever Virtual Bountiful Garden Tour in July to celebrate the beauty and success of local gardens while raising funds for school garden and farm experiences.

GROW is a nonprofit that works with various elementary schools in the La Crosse area to promote nature and healthy lifestyles among children through garden camps, farm camps, and garden school lessons. Although the camps had to be canceled because of COVID-19, organizers wanted to find a way to continue the Bountiful Garden Tour. The tradition of the garden tours originally started at the Hillview Urban Agriculture Center in La Crosse.

With donations as entry fees, individuals can submit photos through July 31. There are multiple categories for gardeners as well as those who want to support a local garden. One grand prize winner will receive $100.

“They can show off what they’ve been doing this summer,” Jessica Parente, GROW marketing intern, said. “Watching something blossom is so satisfying and rewarding.”

Participants are encouraged and accepted all over the Coulee Region area as well as Minnesota locations. GROW wants to continue to unite the community with the circumstances that changed the looks of the summer.

“The submission donations will help us continue to take proper precautions and hopefully get our kids back in our gardens by fall,” Parente said. “We miss everybody in our gardens.”

Photos of the gardens entered into the event will be shared on the GROW webpage and social media once winners are announced to allow the whole community to take a virtual tour.

Locally, volunteers continue to help GROW gardens thrive in the community. They help tend to the plants and maintain edible schoolyards at several locations where people can harvest berries, mint, or other products.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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