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4-H Members Become "Catalysts" for Community Change

by Mason County 4-H After School Club

Two years ago two residents of Shelton, Washington donated a large parcel of their property to the city. They wanted it to be called Catalyst Park in hopes that it would someday provide a place for the neighborhood to gather, play, and grow together. This year our local Food Bank Garden, which was housed at the County Fair Grounds, was eliminated due to the county’s budget issues. Our Shelton 4-Hers, together with Washington State University Master Gardeners, have partnered with our local Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Optimists, and the Food Bank to re-create the Food Bank Garden into the Catalyst Garden.

The new Catalyst Garden will not only replace the over 3,000 lbs. of fresh produce grown by the former Food Bank Garden, but it will also house a youth garden, which will allow Shelton’s young people to sell at our Farmer's Market. Additionally, the Catalyst Garden will also open many neighborhood plots for gardening. Our local Food Bank Garden, which before was housed at the County Fairgrounds, was a place for all of our 4-H youth and families to enjoy. The loss of it affected not only those who received the food it produced, but the whole community. The Catalyst Garden is an idea that will literally GROW and be a catalyst for youth, families and communities to work together towards healthy lifestyles as well as giving back to their community in these hard times.

 

The impact has been huge! The Catalyst Garden has been just that! We now have a Catalyst II garden which is situated at the Mason General Hospital in downtown Shelton. This project was initiated after the publicity about the Catalyst I project hit our local news. All of the "green space", hospital lawns, will become community garden plots for the local apartment dwellings that surround it. The youth who will be gardening this summer hope to create a market for their fresh produce at our small local Farmer's Market. The project not only shows how 4-H and its participants in Shelton are dedicated to our small community but also illustrates the importance of partnering with other agencies to make things happen!

Get involved this summer - join 4-H and Let's Read. Let's Move. and have an impact in your community.

Learn more about Let's Read. Let's Move at Serve.gov/Summer.

Learn more about how to join 4-H at 4-H.org.

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