Michigan 4-H Foundation

Whole Cities Foundation grant expands 4-H garden and nutrition program

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Michigan 4-H delivers programs that educate youth and families on the importance of being healthy and eating nutritious meals. These 4-H programs include a host of gardening efforts that feature hands-on experience in planting, managing and harvesting vegetable gardens.

There are two Michigan 4-H gardens located in Macomb County. One is in Warren and the other is in Mt. Clemens. Both gardens were built and are maintained by 4-H staff, volunteers and youth members. Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener experts support the 4-H garden programs and provide education for sustainability. As a result of the gardens, families have access to fresh vegetables straight from a garden that they have helped to plant and maintain. If there is significant produce, Michigan 4-H has established entrepreneurial opportunities for youth to sell at local farmers markets.

To help expand these efforts in the year ahead, the Michigan 4-H Foundation and Macomb County 4-H received a grant from The Whole Cities Foundation. Grant funds will be utilized to provide nutrition education for youth and families in the Warren and Mt. Clemens communities. Families who participate will be enrolled into MSU Extension nutrition education and Master Gardener programs. With their acquired knowledge, they will be able to learn, grow and maintain the 4-H community gardens, with the ultimate goal of families eventually starting their own garden at their home, provided they have the space.

Through the program, the community will gain a significant amount of gardens that are supported by families with gardening experience and knowledge. The program will also build a sense of community as residents come together to learn and work in the garden, share recipes and harvest vegetables. In addition, Macomb County 4-H will host two community dinners with vegetables and herbs grown in the two 4-H gardens.

The Macomb County 4-H Garden and Nutrition Program timeline is as follows:

  • Winter 2018 
    • Map out spring garden plan
    • Recruit volunteers
    • Recruit participants
    • Begin Master Gardener classes
    • Begin nutrition classes
    • Share a nutritious meal with participants through a family potluck
    • Purchase supplies
  • Spring 2018
    • Build raised beds (if needed)
    • Purchase seedlings, seeds and plants
    • Plant garden plots/beds
    • Register families for participation
    • Maintain garden through a shared weed and water schedule
  • Summer 2018
    • Begin to harvest vegetables
    • Sell and participate in local farmers’ markets
    • Share a nutritious meal with participants through a family potluck

Volunteers are needed to assist with planting and managing the gardens. We are also looking for families to participate in the program. For more information, please contact Kea Norrell-Aitch at knboyd@anr.msu.edu or 586-469-6264.