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
campus.  Students in the Woods Class built ten finely crafted planter boxes which were reinforced with steel brackets made by the Auto Shop Class.  Students from the after school Gardening Club, the Science Department, English Department, and Math Department planted the starts and helped maintain the boxes.

Juniors and seniors enrolled in Sustainability Studies Summer Program who had a 3.0 grade point average or better earned an elective credit in University Studies at the University of New Mexico.  The class was called Experiential Learning Seminar 175. SVA students helped maintain Dragon Farm on the campus at South Valley Academy, and worked with younger students at the Martineztown House of Neighborly Service and the Santa Barbara Martineztown Learning Center.  In addition they helped to maintain the garden at Highland High when they were out for summer break.  Produce from Dragon Farm was sold by SVA students at the Downtown Growers Market and to the school lunch program.

South Valley Academy Service Learning students worked with Andrew Marcum’s UNM Research and Service Learning students to expand on the existing garden at Kirtland Elementary and created a new 3500 square foot plot.  The high school students had a wonderful time working with older college students which proved to be a great experience for them.  Special thanks to Andrew Marcum PhD candidate and Dan Young PhD UNM Research Service Learning for making that happen.

The Youth Food Action Project will put forth efforts this spring to support gardening activities at Wilson Middle School.  We are looking forward to working with Principal Marco Harris and Science teacher Mary Erwin.  Ms. Erwin has an extensive background using gardening activities as a classroom tool to educate youth.  We are thrilled to be working with her this spring.

I want to thank Janet Page Reeves PhD for her dedication and hard work, my students, and all of our community who have dedicated their time to make the Youth Food Action Project a tremendous success.

Richard Brandt
YFAP Director

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