Welcome to the Garden! This summer has been full of new and exciting events and activities. We had volunteer groups from Upward Bound come out and help us start a new composting station and a hugelkultur mound (a permaculture design made from old logs, plant debris and soil). Our first community event happened on May 20th at our Garden Kick off where we had lots of food fun and started planting our first seeds. Thanks to so many community volunteers we were able to plant more than 3/4 of the garden with donated seeds,transplants, and cover crops. During our first work day we started painting some new signs with help from two youth volunteers. Just a little later in the season we started working on something big! Something so incredibly big it will require the entire community to give their input to come to a conclusion. I am speaking of the SLV Inspire Initiative. This is a project involving the entire San Luis Valley with Antonito as one of the 7 “Hubs” or central locations. That means, with some luck and hard work, we would be able to access some incredible funding to increase our youth access to the outdoors. Which by the way is currently only seven minutes a day according to recent studies. This project would make it easier for our community to access the outdoors with new pathways, facilities and playing areas. To begin this process we hosted a community BBQ to start the conversation and invite anyone to give their input on what would make the great outdoors more accessible. We started new mulching methods to retain moisture and thanks to the rainy weather we have been very successful at conserving water. To close our the summer we held a brand new program, the Valleybound Health and Leadership Youth Camp. This was a four day camp for youth members ages 9-18. We had a great group of young leaders and each of these wonderful participants received some pretty great gifts along with the knowledge they learned on this camp. Every participant got a journal, yoga mat, backpack, water bottle, first aid kit, wild foraging book, shopping bag, garden kit and medals won during the final competition, “The Garden Olympics.”All in all it has been a great season with more to come as we enter the heart of harvest time. We are currently having community work nights on Tuesdays from 6-8pm AND Fridays from 2-7pm. Feel free to stop on by and see what we have growing. But beware, we might try to send you home with a bag of free vegetables 😉
We hope this note finds you well. We’ve got a quick ask of you. Can you help us raise $400 in the next 30 days for Valleybound, the Antonito School & Community Garden? If we are one of the first 75 gardens to raise $400, we will automatically receive a match of $400!
We are in desperate need of this money to repair our tool shed. Our current tool shed is in disrepair. We have a tarp on the rotting roof that is partially holding the water out, on top of which we also have planks and tires to hold the tarp down. Now for the winter, we have all of the tools gathered together under another tarp to keep them dry. This money will bring us one step closer to our goal.
Wow! What a busy summer it turned out to be! The garden is now easing its way into a deep slumber for our harsh Rocky Mountain winters here in the San Luis Valley. The produce has all been harvested, including quinoa that we’re not quite sure how to process, but we’ll get there. 😉 All of the tomatoes were picked and eaten up, made into pasta sauce and donated to the Antonito Senior Citizen’s Center. Our purple potatoes were a major hit – so many children and adults in our community had never seen purple potatoes before, so they were a real treat! The Antonito Senior Citizen’s Center also received a nice goodie bag filled with purple and white potatoes. It was wonderful being able to include them in our harvest, even though many of them were not able to make it out to the garden.
On top of all of the lovely harvest, we also sponsored the PUMPKIN PATCH over at South Conejos Schools for grades K-6. We didn’t plant Jack-o-lanterns in our garden, but tasked the Valley Roots Food Hub with sourcing 120 pumpkins for us, which they did in a heartbeat! All of the pumpkins were organic and from local farmers. We set up our pumpkin patch in the playground, and it really reminded me of Easter and really big eggs! 😀 The kids were so excited to be taking home a pumpkin for Halloween, and grateful they were as well!
We also recently were invited out to Devon Peña’s house and farm out near San Luis, Colorado. He has been doing wonderful work to restore seeds to their heirloom conditions. He shared bolita beans and beautiful corn varieties with us – we can’t wait to get them in the ground next year!
Thank you to everyone who made this first summer of gardening such a success! It couldn’t have been done without the countless hours of support from children, youth and adults alike! Here’s to making a dream come true!
We had an exciting day over here at Valleybound, the Antonito School and Community Garden! We sponsored today’s salad bar for K-12 at South Conejos Schools right here in Antonito, Colorado. It was wonderful seeing so many beautiful, green salads on the kids’ and teachers’ trays today. I am so proud of our community and children for coming together and creating such a magical space that promotes healthy lifestyles and community building.
After lunch, I was surprised by two classes in the elementary wing asking for a tour of the garden! So off we headed to the old rodeo grounds and explored the green, luscious garden. The students asked so many questions, admired the most beautiful sunflower in the universe, touched and gawked at the cute little pumpkin and calabacitas, and gathered around the fire pit asking when we’d be doing s’mores! This is the sort of experiential education that I love and am honored to be a part of. Here’s to a bright future!
Why, hello there! Thanks for checkout out our page and all of the wonderful things we are getting ourselves into. The past few weeks have been very busy for us with school starting up again, selling at the Conejos County Farmers Market, weekly gardening sessions on Sundays at 5 and harvesting produce for the salad bar at South Conejos Schools! As the season is beginning to wind down — even though it doesn’t feel like that at all — I feel the need to express my gratitude for the generous and supportive community of Antonito and beyond! It has been a wholesome summer of gardening, bringing my dream to fruition, and for this I will always be grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Enjoy these photos from the Market yesterday! Our kids are the best and wonderful entrepreneurs!
Today was an exciting day! Three teenagers from the area met me at the garden to harvest as much as we could for the Conejos County Farmers Market that was being held today in Manassa, Colorado. We harvested heirloom beets, heirloom radishes, chives, horseradish leaves, spinach, rainbow chard, Anaheim Peppers, Banana Peppers and green and yellow squash! I am impressed at how much we were able to harvest and even more impressed that we sold out today! It was a really great day, as you can tell from the photos below. I am so grateful for all of the adults and teens who came out today to support the garden and our dream of keeping our children and youth connected to the Earth. See you next week at the market in La Jara, Colorado!
Thanks to everyone who came out to the garden last night! We harvested spinach, radishes, tomatoes, chives, horseradish and chard! Two children from local communities were are Head Harvesters, and they even presented all of the produce to the other 30 community members who were present! I honestly don’t know if I could have given a presentation in front of so many people at that age. You can’t tell me that a School & Community Garden isn’t cross-curricular! 😀 And the s’mores with reeses were a major hit – they’ll be back next Tuesday at 6!
Swiss Chard, Chives & Horseradish
S’mores & More
Spinach, Chard & Chives
One big radish!
Our Head Harvesters sort produce for people to take home.
We had a wonderful meeting tonight at the Garden. 25 community members showed up, we had nachos at my mom’s house, got a temporary roof on the shed, got two bee hives set up, and of course enjoyed the fire and s’mores! Thank you all so much for your continued belief in this initiative.