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4-H offers ag opportunities for city kids

4-H offers ag opportunities for city kids

The Community Cultivators 4-H club has about 70 members who work in the group's garden at Westside Ministries in Turlock.

POSTED July 8, 2013 4:37 p.m.

In a world where texting, cell phones and Netflix reign supreme as the uncontested kings of leisure activity, one organization is trying to change that.


By raising pigs.

4-H is a national youth development organization that promotes activities like gardening, farming, arts and crafts, culinary and baking skills in order to spur positive youth development in the community.

The 4-H group Community Cultivators, hosted by Westside Ministries in Turlock, has 70 members from 9 to 19 years old.

Candy Silveria, Community Cultivators leader, said the program is a good way for the youth to gain valuable skills that can benefit them in the future.

“Our program is really different,” said Silveria. “These kids love to be a  part of something.”

Silveria said members of the program submit around 5,000 entries in the fair every year, ranging from produce to art. This year, the students are taking extra efforts to tend the 4-H garden and raise the farm animals they will be presenting at the fair.

“Sometimes I see the kids in the garden at 8 a.m.,” said Silveria. “They just want to be out there. They get so excited to see that the garden has no weeds and that they did that.”

Along with learning how to raise and take care of the actual animals, there is a financial incentive for the 4-H members who decided to participate in the fair. By selling their pigs at the fair, the 4-Hers can make a good chunk of change, all of which they keep for themselves.

On average, each 4-H member that raises a pig can walk away with $100, according to Silveira.

Silveria said that a lot of times the money raised by the Community Cultivator 4-Hers is used to buy clothes for the following school year.

“A lot of these kids can't afford to buy new clothes for themselves and this program allows them to do that,” she said.

Silveria, who herself was a product of a 4-H group, said that programs like these gave her an opportunity to appreciate farming and urges others to join.

“It’s really all about teaching life lessons and how to be responsible,” she said.



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