Good to Grow: Second Step Housing partners with Master Gardeners Foundation of Clark County

§ April 23rd, 2012 § Filed under Partnerships, Volunteers § No Comments

But if each [wo]man could have his own house, a large garden to cultivate and healthy surroundings – then, I thought, there will be for them a better opportunity of a happy family life.

- George Cadbury


In this global economy where we can visit any big box grocery to find strawberries from California, avocados from Chile, or onions from Georgia, we really don’t need to grow our own backyard gardens. But Second Step Housing landscaping and mentor coordinator Martha Brett knows that gardening fills an even deeper need for women rebuilding their lives.


“Taking care of something outside of your home makes you feel good,” she said.


That’s why Second Step Housing has partnered with the Master Gardener Foundation of Clark County to create gardens at many of the Second Step properties.

“Those two ladies have made what I do in the gardens possible,” said Martha Brett about Nancy Funk and Julie Carlson (pictured above) of the Master Gardener Foundation of Clark County.


The Master Gardener Foundation, an all-volunteer organization, is dedicated to promoting research-based horticultural practices through education, consultative programs and experiences which preserve or enhance our environment. Each year, this nonprofit organization supports a wide range of horticultural activities throughout the community such as the Fort Vancouver Historical Garden and the Hazel Dell Elementary and Boys and Girls Club Garden.


For Second Step, the grant from the Master Gardener Foundation has supported their development of residential gardens filled with vegetables, herbs, and flowers. “They provide all the seeds, plants, and funding for tools and materials,” said Martha.


Even more importantly, Second Step residents who want a garden are required to plant and maintain it. Working to keep their homes looking good provides the women with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Maintaining a backyard garden does even more, providing the opportunity to learn and apply new skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.


Master Gardener Foundation donates thousands of seeds each year to local organizations like Second Step Housing.

“Working in their gardens and volunteering for the Master Gardener Foundation is an education piece for the volunteers,” said Martha. “It supports a bigger cause and exposes them to more than they could have imagined.”


Through the partnership with the Master Gardener Foundation of Clark County, Second Step residents are learning what it really takes to grow a garden. From starting seeds to prepping the soil and weeding to harvesting, the women are discovering what it takes to nurture something so that it can flower and bear fruit. And this lesson is one that impacts them daily as they learn to take that same kind of care of themselves and their families.

Thanks to Nancy Funk, Executive Administrator, and the entire Master Gardener Foundation of Clark County, these families are good to grow.

These tomato starts were tiny this winter, but with the devoted care of the Master Gardener Foundation members, they are now ready for transplanting to your garden.

The Master Gardener Foundation of Clark County accepts donations of money and supplies year-round, but their major annual fundraiser is a plant sale each spring. This year’s sale will be held at the 78th Street Heritage Farm on Mother’s Day weekend.


Please visit the sale and support your local Master Gardener Foundation. You’ll find all the plants you need for your vegetable garden from tomato starts to herbs. The foundation also sells a variety of houseplants and flowers, including beautiful hanging baskets and fuschias. Come early for the best selection and a beautiful garden!



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