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Children grow with School to Farm Project

Courtesy Photo/School to Farm

Young people plant and weed in the School to Farm Project garden at Cortez Recreation Center as adults provide guidance.

All over this county, from schools to farms, millions of seedlings are springing into action. Some of them earn the gardener's affection while others attract a leery eye. If you haven't already, I'd recommend taking a stroll to your local school garden to see the early summer excitement.

My name is Harrison Topp, and I'm working with the Montezuma School to Farm Project as an Americorps OSM/VISTA. I'll be coming to you every other week with updates about the school gardens. Every once in a while, I'll also throw in some breaking news about local farmers in the area and maybe a growing tip or two if I happen across a good one!

Our school gardens are just starting to burst with life, but the student stewards (perhaps your very daughters, sons or grandchildren) are running out the doors into the arms of summer vacation. That means we could use a little help! Whether you're a parent with children or not, we'd love to see you stop by the Mancos Garden, the Dolores Garden or the Cortez Rec Center Garden. Community involvement is the heart and soul of the Montezuma School to Farm Project. It connects our agricultural heritage with our growing future. And you wouldn't believe how fun it can be when the community comes together to grow healthy food, be outside, and work and learn together. I'll guarantee that all the young gardeners, botanists, scientists, poets and horticulturalists we work with will thank you for it as they attend summer camps at the gardens and eventually return to school in the fall.

If you're wondering how exactly to get involved, we've got a good summer line-up. First of all, you can swing by anytime, relax, and enjoy the feeling of things growing all around you. Also, every Tuesday evening in Dolores, and Wednesday evenings in Mancos, we will be hosting casual weed and greet parties from 4 to 7 p.m.. Come by and spend some time with your family and neighbors, dig around in the dirt, and maybe just bring some veggies home! If you have youngsters, enroll them in the camps happening at all three gardens this summer! You can email me at mstfpamericorps@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Volunteering a year of service with the Montezuma School to Farm Project has been very inspiring, and I encourage others to join me, with whatever time they can offer. More than sports, television, video games or the myriad of other ways we entertain ourselves, participating in the school gardens will benefit not only our youth but also our future.

I leave you with a local food tip for the week. Just like all those seedlings I mentioned, farmers markets are springing into action. Local farmers have been working hard, against the wind, heat, drought and freezes to enliven and excite the local palate. Check out what they've got!

Harrison Topp is an Americorps/Vista volunteer working with the Montezuma School to Farm Project.

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