Growing the Good (and Veggies) in Rogers County

Chelsea garden donation photo

Katie Gibson (second from right) accepts a $500 sponsorship check from TSET Healthy Living Program Project Directors Jody Reiss (far left) and Alyson Short (left of Katie). Caitlin Turpel (far right) is the Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) Project Director.  Reiss, Short and Turpel are members of the Prevention Team at Volunteers for Youth.

“Growing the Good” in Rogers County is more than a catch phrase at Volunteers for Youth.  The Chelsea Community Garden was the most recent focus for the initiative and a check for $500 was presented to Kati Gibson, garden manager.  TSET funds from the Healthy Living Program provided the sponsorship for some of the garden’s start-up costs including installation of a water hydrant, fencing supplies and signage.

A local Chelsea non-profit, Café of Life, is the managing body for the garden project and a formal partnership was recently formed with the Chelsea High School Agricultural Department.  Future plans include the sale of fresh produce to the community and educational classes focused around healthy eating and nutrition.  The garden is located at the corner of 10th and Pine on a lot donated by longtime Chelsea residents Gaylen and Debbie Urie.  Members of the Chelsea community are encouraged to contact Gibson about participating in the garden project.

Additional support for the garden has previously been provided by another project of Volunteers for Youth and the Cherokee Nation called Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH).  Rogers County Commissioner, Dan Delozier, has also contributed support by providing mulch, and the local Chamber of Commerce donated funds to have the water meter put in.

“The garden is small but growing and we have a good variety of produce already in our beds including tomatoes, okra, melons, and strawberries,” said Gibson. “We all know, healthy living starts with our food and food comes from the ground. This sponsorship will help further educate our community. This is just the beginning of a place we hope will come to be useful and loved by our community. As funds and volunteers trickle in, more can be done. Partnerships like this make a world of difference and we hope one day, the youth of our town will picnic here, enjoy lunch here, and ultimately grow food here,” added Gibson

Volunteers for Youth Prevention Team members are active in the Healthy Community Partnership, a Rogers County coalition with the mission to achieve lasting positive environmental change in Rogers County to prevent substance abuse and promote overall wellness for youth and across the lifespan. The Healthy Community Partnership, PICH and Rogers County’s TSET Healthy Living Program hope more people will take on the challenge of eating better, moving more, and being tobacco free. For more information, please contact Caitlin Turpel, at or Alyson Short, at






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