Despite drought-like conditions across the Red River Valley, the rain garden near Villa St. Vincent/The SUMMIT's Chapel is blooming and buzzing.

Sr. Rita Bonneprise can often be seen at the nearby park bench enjoying the peaceful tranquility of the area. "I love watching the subtle changes of the flowers in the rain garden and the vegetables in the raised garden beds. It is so relaxing."

The rain garden was designed by Michael Knudson, Minnesota Green Corps Storm Water Specialist. He and Crookston native, Ben Sullivan, planted and developed it in the fall of 2011. The vegetable garden is a Little Villager's Childcare and SUMMIT joint project, "Gardening Through the Generations" supported by the U of M Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership.

Culinary Service Director Rachael Herberg reported that the garden has been very productive, thanks to the expert green thumbs of SUMMIT tenants Jean Solhiem and Antoinette Lagasse who have been very engaged throughout the summer. The harvest has included radishes, green beans, peas, cucumbers, and tomatoes, with carrots and cabbage soon to follow. "We are going to try for another batch of radishes." added Herberg. "The tenants and kids love the taste of fresh garden produce at meals and snacks."