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 Author: thewellnesscoalition
PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:58 pm 
This past week, a few intrepid youth of Silver City participated in a project called Getting Dirty in the Garden, a service based learning component of The Wellness Coalition’s Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) Summer Program. Youth Development Specialists and Americorps Members of The Wellness Coalition combined tools and knowledge with local garden experts on a “Farm Tour” of Silver City. In only a matter of days, project participants had mastered the art of saying “cool” and “getting the job done,” helping to mend and maintain gardens spaces in and around Silver City.

Project leader, Kimberly Brown, explains the project as “a very simple, yet direct way to grasp the basics of gardening. Experiencing several examples of ‘what works’ and ‘what doesn’t work’ is one of best ways to learn how to grow food in the desert Southwest.”

The group first dirtied their hands at Townside Farm, where owner of Townside Farm, Doug Smith, gave Silver City’s youth a thoughtful and deliberate introduction to the realities of gardening and the importance of water conservation. The onset of the midday heat threatened the farm’s newly planted tomatoes, so the group all joined in to help Genevieve Morgan, Townside’s farmhand, to lay “drip tape” along the tomato rows, which then plugged into the farm’s irrigation system.

On the second day, The Volunteer Center’s Community Garden off of Hudson Street received an overhaul with weeding, soil amending, and mulching. Inspired by the transformative effect, one youth comments; “I love this I feel important....We found garlic. It was pretty awesome.” On this particular day, the group displayed signs of autonomy and conscientiously joined forces and skill sets to construct two gaudily-dressed scarecrows in a team-building exercise.

Wednesday, the group headed over to the Guadalupe Montessori School’s garden and worked alongside gardeners, Francis Miller, Americorps Member, and Martha Egnal, Montessori's garden supervisor, who helped the group understand the complexity of growing ample quantities of food in small, compact spaces. As well as, learning about insect pollinators, such as honey and bumble bees, and how certain foods like peaches and apples depend upon pollination. At the gardens, TWC’s youth provided erosion control for the school’s playing field and weeded the garden beds.

The last day, the group applied their newfound knowledge to the garden space of Jose Barrios Elementary School. Lone Mountain Natives requested five deep holes for fruit trees on the school’s property. The group successfully completed the project and had time to independently test the soil and other plant materials for signs of alkalinity or acidity.

Water guns and wet bandannas kept the youth cool despite the high temperatures during their four day long project. “The overall independence and ingenuity the youth were able to display at the end of the week was amazing, on some level, I believe they were able to understand the importance of gardening,” quotes co-leader Anna Lande.

For more information, stop on by: The Wellness Coalition is located downtown at 409 N. Bullard Street.

 Author: renate
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:47 pm 
Congratulations on teaching youth the importance of gardening!
Volunteers for this project are appreciated by the community, Renate

Warm regards
Renate Heygster

Unity is thy Nature; Diversity is thy Glory!

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