Lehigh Valley

Easton honors Girl Scouts for volunteer efforts

Troop 8968 members worked on the Easton Urban Farm

EASTON, Pa. - Easton City Council honored a pair of local Girl Scouts for their work with the Easton Urban Farm.

City council on Wednesday awarded two members of Troop 8968 with certificates of appreciation for their volunteer time.

“We always love when we have Eagle Scouts or Girl Scouts doing projects for us in the city,” council member Sandra Vulcano said.

Rebecca and Rachel DeGiulio, ninth-grade honor students at Easton Area High School, earned their Silver Awards by building picnic tables and a music wall at the farm. The Silver Award is the highest achievement a Girl Scout Cadette can earn.

Rebecca DeGiulio built musical wall for kids at the Urban Farm.

“I just thought it was a great way for kids to play around and have fun,” she said.

“Full disclosure, adults play with them, too,” council member Ken Brown said.

Rachel DeGiulio wanted to help Urban Farm to make it safer for children at the farm. The tables are decorated with ants and watermelons, which garden coordinator Sophia Feller said is a big hit.

“It’s just been an incredible addition,” said Feller with the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership.

Easton Urban Farm, with the Easton Area Neighborhood Center, is part of a larger effort to provide community gardens for neighborhoods in the West Ward.

The Veggie Stand program, a donation-based farmer’s market operating at 10th and Pine streets July through September, has distributed more than 23,000 pounds of produce since 2012.

The Veggie Stand is a Lafayette College-backed program that partners with Easton, Safe Harbor, Crayola, the Easton Area Neighborhood Center, Penn State Extension and more than 100 individuals.

Easton Urban Farm and Lafayette Farm partnered with community volunteers at the farms and the stand to make the 2017 season successful, according to program intern Jen Giovanniello.

Bechdolt Orchard, a newcomer to the program, donated 1,700 pounds of fruit over the 2017 growing season.

Giovanniello said the program was closing the gap from being a Lafayette project to a community-led program.

“We would not have been nearly as successful as we were without their support,” Giovanniello said.

Over five years, The Veggie Stand has produced more than 23,000 lbs of produce  or 100,000 servings of vegetables for the community. That gave 80 families their vegetable requirements for the summer.

If measured by supermarket produce costs, The Veggie Stand distributed about $80,000 worth of food for only a suggested donation, according to Lafayette student Casey Banta-Ryan.

Donations came in around $1,400. That money goes back to the Easton Area Neighborhood Center to boost programming.

“It’s not self-sustaining yet,” said Lafayette advisor Lawrence Malinconico, adding that people were starting to see the value in the farm. “This is truly a community effort.”

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