Staff members from the Chester County Food Bank recently visited Elk Ridge School to help the first and second grade students build and plant the school's first raised-bed garden.

Students will be involved in the garden's planting, maintenance and harvesting of food through the end of the current school year and throughout the next school year.

After building the garden and filling it with soil, the students planted kale, radishes and green beans, which were expected to be ready for harvest by the end of the school year. All of the vegetables will be donated to the Oxford Neighborhood Services Center food cupboard and Divine Sent Pantry at the Oxford Church of God.

The garden is expected to be a permanent addition to the school grounds, and more raised beds may be built in the future.

"We have space for expansion, so we are anticipating the growth of this program," said teacher Shirley Hershey, adding that the food bank also presents Healthy Snack Days in conjunction with nutrition education at Elk Ridge.

The food bank currently coordinates 130 gardens with 500 beds at 50 schools in Chester County. Elk Ridge will be looking for school families and community volunteers to help maintain the garden over the summer months. Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Hannah Johnston, nutrition education coordinator for  the Chester County Food Bank, at 610-873-6000.