An East Tennessee youth group is on the way to Iowa for an eight day mission trip.
Toiling in a garden helped make the trip possible.
The youth group at South Harriman Baptist Church reaped the rewards of the harvest.
Youth Minister Matt Edwards grew up on a farm. He came up with the idea to produce produce in a garden next to the church.
"I thought it would be a good idea to teach the kids how to garden and also a great way to raise some money," Edwards said.
They raised money for an eight day mission trip to Iowa and raise awareness about growing food from donated plants.
"We spend a lot of time out here and put a lot of good hard work into it. It's really taught us a lot," youth group member Daniel Leslie said.
They've worked as a team and overcome obstacles.
"We don't have a water source so we have to carry water in the truck with 55 gallon barrels and buckets nd a sump pump to pump it out her," he said.
Youth group member Rachael Lambert explained, "I basically hold the water hose over each plant for 30 seconds and then go on to the next aisle and the next aisle and the next aisle."
Their patience paid off.
"We've got a box in the church where people can donate whatever amount of money they want. We don't have a set price for anything. It's all donation based," Matt Edwards said.
Daniel Leslie said, "We have a lot of people come and just ask us what do we have today what do have to give them."
Green beans and cabbage have been top sellers.
The garden proceeds offset the cost of the trip, about $250 per person.
In Iowa, they'll run a sports camp for inner city kids.
"Also get an opportunity to spend time with them and share Christ with them and it's going to be a good trip," Edwards said.
They've learned some garden lessons.
"A lot less cucumbers next year. We've got way too many cucumbers," he said.
"People take the cucumbers but we've had way to many this year," Daniel Leslie said. "Everybody's waiting on the tomatoes. Tomatoes are going to be big when they get in."
Rachael Lambert agreed. "They're all green right now but everybody is looking forward to them."
They started the garden in mid-March and will probably tend it through October. Then youth group members will plant a ground cover for the winter to prepare for their next garden.
"We're going to do it next year and we plan to expand it as well and go a little bit farther out here. And grow a few more green beans and tomatoes too," Edwards said.
They'll take it easy with the cucumbers as they work hard to raise garden crops and raise money for next year's mission trip.
The youth group will return from Iowa July 14th.