Saturday, December 17, 2011

End of the Year Blurb

September 15, 2011 marked the one year anniversary for the Youth Food Action Project.  The project is supported a USDA Community Food Project Grant.  My colleague Janet Page Reeves and I finished compiling the data in early December and submitted the annual report to the USDA.  Year one was an overwhelming success!  In the original proposal our goal was to serve 70 youth, and we exceeded that by a long shot.  Over 500 youth ranging in ages from five to college level participated in gardening activities in the South Valley, Martineztown, and the International District.

Students from Dragon Farm at South Valley Academy worked with youth in the International District and Martineztown District to support, expand, and create new gardens.  Highland High School now has an edible courtyard in the center of the

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Brian Najera 11th Grade SVA Service Learning student

My experience working with Andrew Marcum’s UNM Service Learning students was pretty cool.  We got to work with them creating new ideas, instead of them telling us what we were going to do. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Greetings from Kirtland Gardens!

As we glean the final fruits from the abundance of summer and plant cold-friendly crops to produce in the winter months of our high desert climate, the excitement and involvement of our kids continues to amplify. We’ve had an extremely busy few months expanding, maintaining, and creating new gardens right here on campus! In collaboration with Dragon Farms and the UNM Research Service Learning Program, the garden program at Kirtland has expanded to include an enlarged after-school garden plot and a new 3500 square foot plot dedicated to engaging our kids around topics of food, agriculture, nutrition, and community

Hurricane Wind Speed Advisory

The recent weather has definitely taken a toll on our plots. Luckily damage was minimal. The first thing I noticed upon coming back to Dragon Farm was that the row cover had been strewn haphazardly around the grounds by the recent winds. On a brighter note the winds also rearranged quite a bit of the row cover debris into very manageable bundles. The lettuce crop was largely unscathed.

The remaining central plot beds are eager for another round of seed which will be harvested for the SVA lunches.

Miguel Martinez
Dragon Farm 
Assistant Farm Manager

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Brian Najera 11thGrade SVA Service Learning

We worked at Dragon Farm today. We cleared the plots of leaves and weeds and threw them in the compost bins.  We also installed new drip lines and we installed row cover to protect the lettuce from frost burn when it freezes.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The USDA Community Food Project Conference was hosted in Albuquerque this year.  It was exciting to see all of the innovative projects that are happening across the country.   One organization was based in Hawaii, and another in Alaska. It was a pleasure to finally meet Katina Hanks and Liz Tuckermanty from the USDA.   The conference proved to be a successful networking opportunity.  I had the pleasure of taking a group of people to sample some authentic New Mexican cuisine at the Ben Michael Restaurant located across the street from the hotel hosting the conference.  Our party had an excellent time and was truly entertained by owner and chef Ben Michael.  Ben was able to talk about the city each individual was from, he served a delicious lunch, and played the piano and sang a song to the ladies sitting at the table.  The entire group raved about the food, service, and entertainment.

Thank you Ben Michael!

Richard Brandt
YFAP Director

Friday, October 28, 2011

UNM Collaboration w/ American Studies 309

Students in Andrew Marcum’s Lobo Gardens class at the University of New Mexico continued their collaboration with the Youth Food Action Project in the fall of 2011 by helping YFAP and the UNM Food Corps establish a new garden while expanding an existing garden at Kirtland Elementary School.

Students participated in soil sampling, roto tilling, and mulching. They also planted garlic and lettuce at the newly expanded garden and helped to fence in and establish drip lines at this garden while planting vetch to build soil health at the brand new Kirtland garden.

Students Matt Troche and Jon Ethridge were especially engaged and took the techniques they learned from YFAP Director Richard Brandt and urban farmer Morgan Attema of East Central Ministries to their own backyards!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Market Wrap Up

We have made it to the end of another successful market season.  Our super summer crew did an amazing job at keeping the weeds under control and the food growing.  We did see some real big changes at the market. Sales suffered a bit at the beginning of the season due to the new layout of the market, sales picked up towards the end of the season. Our entire summer Crew got a chance to check out the scene at least once. I must say, I am proud of you all!!

Miguel Martinez
Dragon Farm
Assistant Farm Manager

Friday, October 21, 2011

Alex Font 10th Grade, South Valley Academy

My experience at the APS School Board meeting was cool. I learned about other organizations and I thought it was neat to hear about the other projects kids are involved with.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Victor 9th Grade SVA Servcie learning

We were at Kirtland Elementary today helping to expand the garden.  We measured the perimeter of the fence to see how much chicken wire we needed to enclose it.  We also planted garlic.  I didn’t know garlic grew during the winter.