Volunteers at any of the Weed ‘n’ Feed events will help to pull weeds at the Youth Garden Project in exchange for a fresh meal.  [Photo courtesy of Youth Garden Project]

“We have so many wonderful volunteers that help us out all year, particularly during the growing season,” said Abby Meyer. “And now in the off-season, we want to celebrate all the effort they put into growing and maintaining the program.”

As the community programs coordinator for the Youth Garden Project, Meyer works with hundreds of volunteers every year.

The YGP’s mission is to cultivate healthy children, families and community through educational programs and the act of connecting people with food from seed to table. It offers programs for youth and events for all ages.

Committed community members, service groups and hungry people attending the organization’s Weed ‘n’ Feed events (where attendees lend a hand in the garden and then share a meal) lend their time and energy to making this Moab-based agricultural nonprofit work. In 2019, over 580 individuals volunteered at YGP, Meyer reported.

The YGP is saying thank you to this year’s group of volunteers and welcoming those interested in volunteering in 2020 to a Volunteer Appreciation Day on Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the YGP (530 S. 400 East). Visitors are welcome to talk to staff and enjoy an afternoon tea with fresh baked goods and jam made from the garden’s fruit. Staff will be on hand to answer any questions from those curious about volunteering in 2020, Meyer said.

“So many different things can go into volunteering,” she said. “Depending on volunteer’s interests and our needs, there’s work weeding, harvesting and transplanting in the garden. There’s hauling compost and mulch and clearing paths. But there are also opportunities to cook, make jam, and process and can fruit.”

Meyer said that for those who prefer working inside, the organization can place people in their office.

“I had spent years with good intentions of volunteering at the Weed ‘n’ Feed but it was always too hot for me,” said YPG volunteer Diana Pedley.

Pedley said that after YGP Executive Director Kaitlin Thomas told her she was welcome to come and volunteer at a time that would work for her, she’s averaged two mornings a week at the garden.

“I come early in the day when it’s cool,” said Pedley. “I can’t garden at my house…but I love digging in the dirt and I’m so happy that they let me do it.”

“There are opportunities for people to volunteer on all levels of our services,” said Meyer.

Pedley, for one, has found that volunteering at YGP has brought her a lot of joy.

“I love that I can do the things I love and it benefits others as well,” she said, adding that she appreciated how volunteering could fit into anyone’s schedule.

“It’s so flexible,” Pedley said, “and I’m just delighted that it’s something accessible for us.”

For more information, the YGP may be reached at 435-259-2326.

What: Volunteer appreciation and info session

When: Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Where: Youth Garden Project, 530 S. 400 East

For more information, call 435-259-2326