Green Thumbs, Big Heart: Family Turns Gardening Into Charity

A Fargo couple is growing a sense of civic duty in their children.
By fostering a green thumb, and using those talents to help others in need.
Soil is in the blood of the Wiley family.
“We came from a family of gardeners,” says father Justin Wiley.
Justin and Sally Wiley are passing their passion along to their three daughters, Dayna, Merill and Terra.
“Since the very beginning,” Justin adds. “We’ve got pictures of them very young just covered in dirt.”
The result?

A surplus of herbs, peppers and tomatoes, all kinds of varieties.
12-year-old Dayna shows off her white cherry tomatoes, explaining, “They’re small tomatoes, but they’re white, and they’re really good.”
“Well when you plant with little kids you try to put one seed in the pot but eventually you get about 50 of them in there,” Justin adds, “so we had a lot of extras that we sorted out and thought ‘Well, what do we want to do with the extras?'”
Their family decision; sell the plants, and donate the proceeds to the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center.
“It’s pretty exciting that I get to help people,” says eight-year-old Merill.
This is the third year the Wiley family has been selling plants out of their home.

The first couple years went OK, but this year they can’t keep them on the shelves.
“We have a talent in this family for gardening, and it just made sense,” Justin says.
They made about $400 each of the last two years.

This year, the total is well over $1,200.
The kids’ father adds, “We want to teach them that doing good is good to do regardless of any praise or rewards or anything.”
For kids so passionate about gardening they have tomato neck ties, giving back is a way to have your cake and eat it to.
Dayna says, “I’m really excited because we can do it again next year.”
The family sold most of the plants online prior to Thursday’s home sale, and what was available there quickly sold out.

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