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Burien students help grow fresh produce for their community

Students at Burien’s New Start High School prepared the school’s community garden for another busy season on Monday. The ‘Shark Garden’ donated more than 2,300 pounds of produce to local food banks last year.

BURIEN, Wash. — There's a growing effort at a high school in Burien to feed the community with fresh produce harvested by students and their neighbors.

On Earth Day, students at New Start High School helped prepare the "Shark Garden" for another busy season.

New Start Biology Teacher Kelsie Maney helped turn the dusty property into a vibrant community center and neighborhood green space.

“We would play games out here like kickball. It was just an empty field for many years,” Maney said.

Volunteer gardeners approached Highline Public Schools in 2015 and asked if they could turn the lot into something more than 1.6 acres of dirt. Today, the garden is managed by a non-profit that educates young people about agriculture, while providing space for anyone in the community who wants to grow something.

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“The whole benefit is just getting to be outside, getting to see what it feels like to get your hands dirty, and do something powerful for your community,” Maney said.

Michael Aga, 17, is one of the students helping grow and expand the Shark Garden.

“Usually I play basketball or go on my computer and make beats, so to be out here doing this is different. It just feels good to help out the community,” Aga said.

Last year the Shark Garden donated more than 2,300 pounds of produce to the White Center Food Bank

A summer gardening internship also provides jobs for teens. Participants learn about nutrition and planting, while also earning class credits.

Click here to learn more about the Shark Garden.