The green thumbs of Whitefish Middle School and the Whitefish Lions Club are again the subject of an international documentary.
Lions Club International spent last week interviewing and filming students at the middle school as they harvested vegetables planted in the garden next to the high school for an upcoming documentary on different legacy projects within the club.
The garden was also featured in a 2012 documentary.
Each spring, four classes of seventh graders come out and plant a variety of vegetables — potatoes, carrots, zucchinis, onions and more — and return in the fall as eighth grades to reap their harvest.
The Whitefish Lions Club has been working with students at the garden for the last six years, Greg Shaffer, president of the Whitefish club, said.
Shaffer said after Lions Club International turned its focus on diabetes for this documentary, it seemed beneficial to check back in on the Whitefish project, which had its own roots in fighting and preventing diabetes.
“So they were looking on legacy projects that have focused on that and been established for many years. They wanted to see what our activity turned into,” he said.
The garden project provides fresh food to the Whitefish schools through the school lunch program at Muldown Elementary and has contributed to many of the ideas being realized in the district’s new Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship, which is under construction on the other side of the high school.
Shaffer said bringing that hands-on, agricultural education to the district offers new learning opportunities to students.
“Here in Whitefish, there was really no horticulture, 4-H type of education, so this has provided additional education that the school never had before. The kids can learn that their hard work of putting the things in the ground and then harvesting it is beneficial,” he said.
“The kids have a lot of fun. The neat thing about it is they help plant it in the spring and then they come back in the fall and they get to see what all those seeds turned into and they get to harvest it.”
“Some of these kids haven’t even run a shovel before, so it’s all a new experience. It’s hand tools, dirt, different vegetables,” he added.
The Whitefish Lions club focuses on empowering volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding under the umbrella of the Lions Club International.
Lions Club International has clubs in 207 countries around the world and 1.35 million members. It’s the world’s largest service club organization. One of the focuses of the club is assisting those who are blind and visually impaired.
The documentary is set to be released in January and will likely be posted on the club’s website, www.lionsclubs.org.