Cortez community finds place to raise food

Cortez community finds place to raise food

Matt Keefauver shows members of the Cortez Community Garden how to use certain gardening tools when planting crops. Enlargephoto

Courtesy photo

Matt Keefauver shows members of the Cortez Community Garden how to use certain gardening tools when planting crops.

After losing the First United Methodist Church as a place to house its garden, the Cortez Community Garden officially opened Sunday, May 27 at a new location.

The Cortez Community Garden’s new location is at 1202 East Empire St. which is directly to the west of the Children’s Kiva and across the street from Parque de Vida.

The new land was donated by Ricky Lightfoot and Melissa Gould, and Community Garden Board President Bobbi Neubarth said the land has enough space to expand in the future.

She said two donaters had a vision for a community garden in this area and paid for the water system that will be needed for the plants’ success, Neubarth said.

While members of the community garden initially planned to plant on May 27, they decided to wait a few days because the temperatures were expected to drop significantly.

Local businesses and community members donated many items that were needed for the community garden, Neubarth said. Big R and IFA donated the fencing, and Slaven’s donated the fence and funds to build raised plant beds.

The three people who are on the garden’s chair committee are Neubarth, secretary Veronica Currie and treasurer Donna Fitzpatrick. They meet a few times a month to discuss things about the garden.

Neubarth said two of the garden plats will be donated to Kemper and Manaugh elementary schools so teachers can use them as a teaching tool for their students.

She said the community garden has been searching for a location and was not sure there would be a season this year after the church revoked its authorization to allow the garden to use its property.

Neubarth said her hope is the garden can become an all-season garden by using a Hoop House, which is a small greenhouse, and Cold Frames.

She said the plats the garden currently uses now can only be used for a few of the four seasons, but added the ultimate goal remains the same.

“The main mission is to feed the hungry and educate,” she said, and mentioned Tom Hooten, director of the Montezuma County Extension Office, will be putting on a children’s workshop.

Neubarth said Kemper Elementary, partly because of its proximity, will be able to use its garden and plat for its summer program.

“They can come out and learn about it,” she said. “It’s very exciting.”

The plats at the community garden will be sold for $40 each, but some of the plats could be donated to low income families.

The garden will be used to provide crops for the soup kitchen, food pantries and anyone with a shop. She also said the community garden will have a booth at the 2012 farmer’s market.

Neubarth also asked Matt Keefauver, a fourth-grade teacher and an avid gardener, to come out Sunday to give tips and recommend reading materials.

She said Keefauver is one of many people who will be giving workshops to community garden members and volunteers throughout the season and mentioned the idea is to have some type of workshop every two weeks.

She also said the community garden still needs tools and volunteers.

For more information, contact Neubarth at 529-0689 or cortezcommunity

Reach Michael Maresh at