Ribbon cutting ceremony heralds launch of Switchpoint Community Garden

ST. GEORGE — The Switchpoint Community Garden Project, funded through a $7,500 grant from the Healthy Dixie Council, was launched Thursday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the Switchpoint Community Resource Center in St. George.

The Healthy Dixie Council grant program is designed to assist local efforts in establishing community gardens in Washington County, which increases the potential for more people to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

“It’s just fantastic,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said. “It’s more like a community farm where people can come and grow gardens.”

In addition to a traditional garden, fruit trees will also be planted along the outside borders, Pike said.

Many people have contributed to the effort and many more have committed to making the Switchpoint Community Garden Project a success, the mayor said. Among those participating in the project are local nurseries, Scouting organizations, church groups and numerous individual volunteers.

All volunteering efforts will be coordinated directly through Switchpoint, Pike said.

Nan Hendrickson, a Switchpoint volunteer, said she has been involved in writing other grant proposals and wanted to pursue the new Community Garden Grant being offered by the Healthy Dixie Council.

She enlisted the help of Ray Shanklin, a retired executive with considerable gardening experience, and together they wrote and submitted the grant request.

“Thankfully I met Ray, who is a Florida master gardener,” Hendrickson said. “And he just ran with it and told me what to write.”

Shanklin volunteered to make a significant commitment to the project and recruited a number of enthusiastic volunteers, including several master gardeners from the area who are willing to work with Switchpoint residents on an ongoing basis.

“The grant from HDC helps us to establish the garden here,” Shanklin said. “That will not only feed those staying at Switchpoint, but will stock the Switchpoint Food Pantry as well.”

Switchpoint’s Food Pantry has provided food to more than 2,000 individuals and families in need since its grand opening in August 2015, Hendrickson said.

Sandia Greenhouses is providing all of the vegetable plants and seeds for the garden, Sandia Greenhouses Representative Rick Sullivan said. He will be teaching some of the gardening classes as well.

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

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.

Upcoming Events:

  • What: Planting begins
  • When: Monday, April 4
  • Where: Switchpoint Community Resource Center, 948 N. 1300 West, St. George
  • What: Gardening and tree planting classes
  • When: Monday, April  4, 10 a.m.
  • Where: Switchpoint Community Resource Center, 948 N. 1300 West, St. George

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Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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