n MHS Culture Clubs vision becomes a reality
The Culture Club Groundbreaking Ceremony took place on March 14, but the real digging did not begin until the following Saturday, on March 22. It started with a simple idea: to brighten up the Molalla High School courtyard, but, "Then we discovered that Beret Halverson and Erin Devlin from Oregon State University Extension Office were in our building on a three-year grant for Molalla Elementary School, Culture Club advisor Kelly Douglas said. They suggested we plant a garden outside in the courtyard and they offered their expertise and knowledge to guide us. Then we applied for a $5,000 grant from OSU 4-H and we have grown into Oregon's five-hundredth School Garden. We are a YA 4-H club, (Youth Advocates 4 Health) and our main goal is to bring healthy food into the school for all students to have access to it.
The Culture Club began early Saturday morning with the ambitious goal of finishing the entire garden within one day. "We completed the garden in 11 hours, Douglas said. Sixteen raised beds, two 'Tree Benches', the reading rocks, the tool shed, the waist-high raised beds shaped like 4-H, and the trail to the outdoor covered classroom."
The garden came to fruition with the help of I&E Construction, which sent some 40 workers who volunteered their time to operate the heavy machinery and power tools needed, and two crews of Culture Club volunteers. One crew assisted the workers outside, while a second prepared a vegan meal for them of authentic Russian and Mexican food.
Douglas hopes that the garden will become Culture Club's living legacy. She said their long-term goal is to bridge the divide of cultures at Molalla High School; having 117 Culture Club teenage members all gardening with the common goal of nature, beauty and peace, with each of them coming from different backgrounds and being able to bond over something so simple as food is magical.
Although there is still much to do before the garden is fully operational, Saturday marked a major leap forward. In the near future, Culture Club members will be bringing in compost for the plant beds, and construction on the Culture Club's outdoor classroom will be completed.