Stacy N. Holbrook
Contributing Writer

(Photo Provided)

What happens when a community comes together to encourage a healthier life style, a better social environment and building community connections? We have a community that is a happier, healthier, and more content. Commissioner Mike Callton (Chiropractor, County Commissioner of the Nashville and Woodland areas, former Michigan House Representatives, former Vice-Chair of the House Health Policy Committee, member of the Insurance Policy Committee and the House of Military, Veterans’ Affairs and Homeland Security Committee), and Commissioner/Blue Zones Executive Director Catherine Getty (Berry County Commissioner District 2, Executive Director of Blue Zones Activate Barry County, formerly the Planning and Zoning Administrator for Thornapple Township); along with Dillon Catlett and about 15 other residents of Nashville, Michigan have formed a group of neighbors entering the Blue Zone.

Just what is the Blue Zone? Over 20 years of research and identification of the world’s longest-lived and happiest populations, which live clean and healthy.

Commissioner Mike Callton and Blue Zones Executive Director/Commissioner Catherine Getty, introduced an idea to create a plan for social connections, better health, and improved life. Presenting this idea to the village committee, the proposal involved finding a piece of ground, funding, and planting a neighborhood garden. People of the community are encouraged to get involved in maintaining the garden and everyone will benefit with fresh fruits and vegetables. Mike, Catherine and Dillon have met many neighbors, and enjoyed the social connection getting to know them.

With the help of the Blue Zone committee, The BCC Foundation, MSU Extension, Farm Bureau and the Food Pantry, these neighbors are learning to live healthy, work together for the same goal and provide services to the community. The Blue Zones have provided great leadership, directing this small group to the right connections.

he Garden is fenced in to keep wildlife out, it has raised plant beds with green beans, strawberries, pumpkins, melons, peppers (both sweet and hot), marigolds, herbs and sunflowers. Mike has left his phone on a post in front of the garden for anyone that may want to contribute to this project, either by funds or labor.

They are very excited with the progress of the garden and all the people that are becoming involved. When the produce starts coming off the garden, they already have a plan for harvesting, fair distribution and they are excited to be able to share some of the bounty with the local food bank.

Catherine shared, “Delton County School and community started this idea of a community garden and has sense inspired two other communities, Johnstown and Nashville, to start a garden in their towns/villages. These programs provide fresh produce, social connections, and longer, healthier lives.” Mike Shared the planning map provided by the MSU Extension and encourages other communities to have “Neighborhood Gardens” where a community can grow together with an attitude of gratitude.

Watch for more inspiring news about Nashville, MI as they share the growth in their community