Walking away from public school in the fourth grade might seem like an impediment for most children.
For Kelleah Meuth, that decision opened up a world of opportunity.
Ever since turning to a homeschooled life, Meuth, now a 14-year-old Buda resident, has experienced success in the field of ecological sustainability and science. So much so that on May 5 Meuth will host a five-booth mini-festival at Buda Market Days in the downtown sector.
“We’re going to do a bunch of kids’ crafts and teach people about gardening, and hopefully get people interested in growing their own food and health,” Meuth said.
Meuth’s project began with her membership in 4-H, and her participation in 4-H’s Global Leadership Opportunities Beyond Education (GLOBE) summit. Interest in 4-H and GLOBE started when she began homeschooling with her parents, Sinead Whiteside and Michael Meuth, who specialize in education and nutrition, respectively.
“(GLOBE) teaches youth about poverty, sustainability and cultures worldwide,” Meuth said. “My assignment was to do a community service project, and this is my project. In the summer I’ll get to go to Costa Rica and get to learn about other cultures.”
Using her extra free time after lessons at home, Meuth and her mother reached out to H-E-B and Home Depot to obtain donations for the festival.
A $50 donation from H-E-B allowed Meuth to purchase 100 plants she’ll be giving away at the market. She is currently hoping to get plant pots from Home Depot donated to her cause as well.
To get to her audience, Meuth decided to set up shop at Buda Market Days. She was able to do so when Buda resident Nancy Pier saw Meuth present her service project at the Buda Library.
“Nancy Pier has been my mentor through this whole thing,” Meuth said. “It’s been hard getting permission to do all of this, but she’s helped me, and my mom has kept me organized.”
Meuth also has nearly a handful of volunteers helping her set up and run her booths and activities including her parents, her cousin and local friends.
Pier said she was impressed with Meuth’s work, research and concept. Meuth wants to educate her peers about proper recycling, gardening for sustainability and healthy eating.
“It’s so impressive to see that work from someone her age,” Pier said. “I hope the community comes and learns from her and sees her hard work.”
Meuth’s work ethic extends far beyond her current project. When she was 10, Meuth began selling muffins and sourdough bread she had made from scratch at the market. Meuth plans to offer those recipes to residents who come to the festival next month.
Following the Buda Market, Meuth plans to travel to Costa Rica and continue her homeschooling and membership in 4-H.
Meuth eventually plans to attend college where she would like to study aquaponics. Before then, Meuth envisions teaching her fellow residents the joys of gardening.
“I really hope to impact people and motivate them to start gardening and eating healthy through one plant and having fun,” Meuth said.