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
development. The school climate has begun to shift towards a universal sense of ownership over the gardens, in end creating a more sustainable program supported by staff, teachers, students, and community members.

The youth have been involved in every aspect of the gardens here at Kirtland; from preparing the new plot for a planting of Winter Rye to seeding beds with a plethora of various greens, the kids have been a pivotal force in this project. We set up a drip irrigation system, dug and made raised beds, and fenced the expanded plot all with the assistance of South Valley Academy students and other partners. The multi-generational learning environment was an inspiring mentoring model worthy of replication. Youth grades K-5 helped us plant Kale, Chard, Spinach, Lettuce, and Garlic in the newly prepared beds and watched in awe as the young seedlings attempted to battle the early waves of winter.

We enter this season with big plans and open minds!

Waiting anxiously for longer days and sunny skies,

-Kendal Chavez
Food Corps

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