The vegetable gardening season has started at the Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown.
Club members have taken part in gardening activities for the past two years, and this year they're able to start their own seedlings with supplies provided by Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play. Creating Healthy Places is part of a statewide initiative funded by the New York State Department of Health to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. The project focuses on increasing the availability and accessibility of places to be physically active, as well as increasing the availability and accessibility of fresh fruits and vegetables. Creating Healthy Places is locally administered by Chautauqua County Health Network.
Juli Peterson, program staff at the Boys and Girls Club, said, "With the grow lights and seedling containers donated by Creating Healthy Places, club members will be able to see the growing process from seed to vegetable and really gain an understanding of where their food comes from."
Shown with the seedling planting supplies at the Boys & Girls Club are Kerry Mihalko, Healthy Food consultant; Jyelah Matve, Arnessa Owens and Joshaia Houston, WCD Boys & Girls Club members; and Juli Peterson, B&G Club program staff.
She added, "The grow lights will also allow us to grow lettuce year round, it will be great for members to be able to have fresh produce all year."
"We felt that indoor gardening supplies would be a perfect compliment to the Boys and Girls Club programming called 'Triple Play.' Triple Play focuses on the health of members' minds, bodies and spirits. It is a program that is run here, and gardening fits right into the curriculum," said Kerry Mihalko, Healthy Food consultant for Creating Healthy Places.
Not only are club members learning about health, they are also learning about helping others.
The club members are all set to start pepper seedlings that will be used in the St. Susan Giving Garden program, a program that raised 7,500 pounds of produce for the St. Susan Soup Kitchen last year.
Peterson added, "Our members are learning how gardening can decrease stress, improve health and help others - these are great lessons that will benefit them for life."
All programs at the WCD Boys & Girls Club are funded in part by the United Way. Learn more about the Jamestown Boys and Girls Club by visiting: www.bgcjamestown.org; and more about Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play by visiting: www.cchn.net.