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| 1 min read | From Mary Jo Frank |

The Chelsea Area Garden Club (CAGC) will award a limited number of grants of up to $1,000 in 2020 to local nonprofit organizations for sustainable horticulture-related projects. The application deadline is Nov. 30, 2019.

Grants support projects that promote the love of gardening, community beautification, environmentally responsible horticultural practices, and conservation through education and by example. 

Applications and information about the annual grant program are available at www.chelseagardenclub.com and on Facebook at Chelsea Garden Club or by calling Charlene Harris at 734-433-9773. Applications, postmarked no later than Nov. 30, should be mailed to the CAGC Grant Program, P.O. Box 519, Chelsea, MI 48118. Applicants in the CAGC service area — Chelsea and western Washtenaw County —will be given preference.

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Representatives from the CAGC’s 2019 grant recipients — the Chelsea Senior Center, Chelsea Farmers Market, and Faith in Action (FIA) in Chelsea — reported on their projects at the club’s October autumn harvest potluck. 

The three nonprofits combined their CAGC grants to hire summer intern David Stratman, a Chelsea High School graduate and student teacher in the Chelsea School District. Among other responsibilities, he worked with children attending Camp GABIKA and seniors at the senior center’s Intergenerational Garden. Chelsea Senior Center Director Bill O’Reilly said under Stratman’s leadership, children and seniors planted seeds, tended the plants and harvested the produce, which was available for purchase at the Chelsea Senior Center and used in the center’s senior lunch program. Campers’ families also helped design and erect a picket fence to protect the garden.

Stratman worked Saturday mornings this summer at the Chelsea Farmers Market, where he led children’s booth activities designed to increase understanding about where food comes and promote creative ways to use food and other natural resources. Activities included making suncatchers, crowns from woven grasses and plants, vegetable art, and dyes from mashed berries. Chelsea Farmers Market Manager Emily Griswold said more than 400 children participated in the Saturday morning sessions.

Additionally, Stratman helped with a vegetable garden in front of the FIA building in Chelsea. Garden produce, including herbs, eggplant, kale, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, and cabbage, were available to clients on the FIA’s free food shelf, noted FIA Director Sheri Montoye.

The garden club also awarded $1,000 scholarships to two Chelsea High School 2019 graduates.

The CAGC raises money for horticulture–related grants and scholarships and for civic beautification through its spring plant sale. The 2020 plant sale will be held 8 a.m.–noon May 9 at the Chelsea Community Fairgrounds, 20501 W. Old U.S. Highway 12.

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