Healthy Dixie Council awards Community Garden Grant to Switchpoint

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ST. GEORGE — The Healthy Dixie Council has awarded its first Community Garden Grant in the amount of $7,500 to the Switchpoint Community Resource Center.

The grant program is targeted to assist grassroots efforts to establish community gardens in Washington County to help increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The garden will be located on the Switchpoint grounds immediately behind its newly-constructed Food Pantry.

“We are delighted and grateful to the Healthy Dixie Council for its generous grant to help us launch this worthwhile community garden project,” Switchpoint Executive Director Carol Hollowell said. “Our garden will provide much more than healthy food for our residents and food pantry. It provides an excellent job-training opportunity for residents, who might then become employed in a landscaping business or garden center, the opportunity for residents to learn more about and appreciate the health­-related value of eating fresh produce, and encouragement for outdoor exercise all in a setting that encourages cooperation and positive interaction among residents and between residents and volunteers.”

Ray Shanklin, a retired executive with substantial gardening experience, has volunteered to make a significant commitment to the project. He has also recruited a number of enthusiastic volunteers. A local, respected nurseryman, Healthy Dixie’s news release said, Shanklin has offered to teach classes on gardening to Switchpoint residents. He has also identified several master gardeners from the area who are willing to work with Switchpoint residents on an ongoing basis.

“It was apparent to the HDC that Switchpoint and its volunteers had put considerable effort into its plan for a community garden. It had enlisted the help of people with exceptional experience and skills,” Healthy Dixie Chairman Arthur LeBaron said. “Its grant application was well thought out and thorough. We are pleased to present our first grant to Switchpoint and expect great success in its efforts.”

Along with increasing physical health, community gardens provide a greater sense of community ownership while increasing relationships with neighbors by sharing gardening skills and responsibilities.

Healthy Dixie is a group of Washington County citizens involved in government, business and education who are committed to promoting healthy habits in the county. The council strives to encourage positive lifestyle and legislative change through community and government outreach and education with the goal of improving the overall health of the county’s citizens.

The “Community Garden” grant program is part of the outreach Healthy Dixie Council is making in its overall mission. In addition to the grant program, Healthy Dixie has worked with government agencies to formulate policies that delay water impact fees for community garden plots.

The Council distributes grants for programs which encourage active lifestyles and healthy nutrition habits. It also creates community-based events and participates in wellness expos.

Event details

  • What: Presentation of grant and ribbon-cutting
  • When: Thursday, March 17 at 3 p.m.
  • Where: Switchpoint Community Resource Center, 948 N. 1300 West, St. George

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