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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
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Mason County Journal
October 23, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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October 23, 2014

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Page A-28 - Mason County Journal - Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 MASTER GARDENER Volunteers make Catalyst Park flourish n Oct. 11, more than 30 com- munity mem- bers came together to prepare the gardens at Catalyst Park for fall and winter. When I was sending out a thank you to the master gar- deners about the great work in that garden, I realized many of them had no idea how the garden came to be lo- cated there. In this week's col- umn, I am sharing with you the history of the garden and its predecessors. What strikes me is how many groups, indi- viduals and agencies worked together dur- ing the past 10 years to make this garden a thriving success. when the demon- stration garden at the fairgrounds was under- going a remodel, and I realized it would not be finished in time for the fair, I suggested we bring in soil and plant gattiesRu vegetables that we could donate to the food bank. The wonder- ful master gar- deners quickly accepted the challenge, and the first Mason County Master Gardeners food- bank garden was born in spring 2004. Once the garden was har- vested and the demo garden completed, fair manager Gretchen Stewart offered to give us another space on the grounds for a garden as well as the two large hoop houses. The Growing to Serve project began. We applied for and re- ceived an AmeriCorps member, and with the help of a Saints' Pantry volunteer who was an experienced gardener, we started vegetable production on a larger scale. A landscaping com- pany donated the fenc- ing and labor to install it, and the men's group from Shelton Presbyte- rian Church built the large wooden gates. The largest harvest year at the site was 2,000 pounds. It was toured by many people during the fair and OysterFest. when the county pulled out of the lease with the Port of Shelton, the search was on for a new site. By JEANNE REHWALDT A past master gar- dener and her partner had donated a city block with the intent for the land to act as a catalyst for community involvement in healthy life- styles and for giving back to the com- munity. The Shelton Kiwanis Club had a similar vi- sion to find land to grow food for people who were hungry. Af- ter a meeting among the city of Shelton, the Shelton Kiwanis, Mason County Master Gardeners, 4-H, Mason Matters, Mason Con- servation District and other interested com- munity members, the decision was made for the master gardeners to draft a Memorandum of Agreement with the city, which owned the land as a park space, and get down to the business of building a garden. Many hands worked to clear the land, pur- chase so and move the fencend tiOt shed from the old fair- grounds site to what is now Catalyst Park. Youth from 4-H Kudos to all, I feel like a proud mother who has watched my child grow, change and develop and go on to lead a positive life helped plant seeds and our AmeriCorps members, Cameron Dempster and Chris Anderson, organized work parties to get the garden growing. That first year was not huge as far as pro- duction, but it was a great accomplishment to have the garden producing and bringing together so many dif- ferent community mem- bers, which was the in- tent when the land was donated. How far we have come is a testament to what can be accom- plished by a shared : vision. It was moving to watch everyone work together on that piece of land Oct. 11. I thank every single person, organization and group that has had a part in develop- ing Catalyst Park Food Bank and Community " Garden. Thanks to the people who worked the land and those who donated funds, equipment and supplies. The crew from the city of Shelton's helping others, parks department, in- cluding Mark Ziegler, who has done a won- derful job keeping the grass cut, installing picnic tables and laying gravel to improve the road. Thanks to the se- niors from Shelton High School, Cody and William, who hose our garden for their senior projects. We should all be very proud of this shining example of people helping people, cleaning up an unused property that was nothing more than a place where undesir- able activities occurred and using it to help ease a difficult situa- tion for those who don't have enough food to eat. The folks who tend this garden have devel- oped lasting friendships and do this work be- cause they like making a difference and being with others who feel the same. The neighbors are so happy to have this beautiful garden view, and we have incurred only a very limited amount of vandalism. Thanks to generous funding from United Way, six new commu- nity garden beds will be built this month to increase the number of community garden beds to 24. The research that shows how community gardens can positively impact the communi- ties in which they are located holds true for US. Kudos to all. I feel like a proud mother who has watched my child grow, change and develop and go on to lead a positive life help- ing others. Plant diagnostic clin- ics continue from noon to 3 p.m. Mondays at the WSU Extension of- rice. Sto p by or give them a call at 427-9670, ext. 687. Jeanne Rehwaldt is the extension coordina: tor supervisor at WSU Extension Mason Coun- ty. She can be reached at 427-9670, ext. 688. You and thousands of others read the Journal every Complete this form, clip it and mail with your check to RO. Box 430, Shelton, WA 98584 You can order by phone (360) 426-4412 with your credit card, or stop by our office at 227 W. Cota St., Shelton. 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