Chippewa Enterprises, Incorporated recently partnered with an organization known as SHIP to build raised bed gardens at its location along Ashmore Ave.

Chippewa Enterprises, Incorporated recently partnered with an organization known as SHIP to build raised bed gardens at its location along Ashmore Ave. SHIP stands for Statewide Health Im­provement Partnership, and its goal is to promote healthy lifestyles within communities. This project was a part of SHIP’s Work Site Wellness Collab­orative.

In our area, Ashlie Johnson of Countryside Public Health in Benson is the  SHIP coordinator, and she oversees four other neighboring counties.

Johnson explained: “We  really work on healthy eating and active living within work sites, community schools, and health care agencies.”

The idea for the project originated with CEI. “Chippewa Enterprises had contacted us and they were really interested in having a community garden in order to have a healthy eating program for their clients and staff,” Johnson said.

SHIP helped CEI apply for a mini- grant from the state of Minnesota to fund the garden project, and it was their idea to involve the Montevideo Senior High agriculture class. They built the garden beds early this spring. In addition to the beds, they also built an indoor greenhouse.

One of the garden beds was specifically designed to be wheelchair accessible. There are two other separate beds and a set of four beds which will have a roof over them for next year.

The ag class worked alongside CEI employees to plant the vegetables. CEI employees are responsible for watering and weeding the gardens.

“Some of the clients are really excited about taking care of the gardens because it was something they used to do,” said Johnson.

When the produce is ready to be harvested in the fall, the vegetables will be used to supplement the lunches at CEI.

The employees of CEI also joined SHIP’s Work Site Wellness Collab­orative, which focuses on getting wellness policies into the work environment.

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