The 4-H Giving Back Garden is gearing up for another year of growing local food.
We are excited to continue our partnership with the Old Fort Incubator Plot program in Hesperus. This program encourages beginning farmers to succeed through education and hands-on learning. We value the opportunity to work and learn alongside other farmers. To learn more about the program, you can call coordinator Beth La Shell at 385-4574.
Our mission is different than the other plot participants. We focus on community engagement and providing rural access to fresh food. Last year, we had success in producing and distributing more than 2,000 pounds of free produce to the community. In addition, we offered educational garden days and a community event to celebrate the harvest.
These efforts were rewarded with a first-place award in the Colorado Come Alive Outside Challenge. This statewide challenge encouraged 4-H and FFA clubs to develop programs to promote healthy outdoor activities. First place also came with a $1,000 cash prize. This money is being used for seeds and supplies to expand garden production.
Currently, we have started seedlings in the Durango High School greenhouse. Thanks to agriculture teacher Lu Boren and her students for getting these seeds germinated and growing. We look forward to partnering with the school to educate more young minds about the benefits of growing local food.
Crops for this year include: red and green cabbage; red, white and yellow onions; Yukon, Colorado rose, mountain rose and purple majesty potatoes; Romaine lettuce; red Russian kale; spinach; Swiss chard; carrots; beets; green and purple bush beans; zucchini; yellow crookneck squash; and an assortment of pumpkins.
Community engagement events include: field work days, educational days in the garden, garden tours and the year-end harvest festival. In addition, we look to distributing food at community granges, food banks and other social events in the area. We also wish to offer food-preservation and healthy-cooking demonstrations using harvested produce.
You can contact me if you or your organization would like to come out and work in the garden. We always could use extra hands to keep the rows weed-free. Also, if you are in need of vegetables and live close to the Old Fort, we can make arrangements to get you fresh food.
Do you want to raise money for other 4-H projects? Enroll in the City Market Community Rewards Program, and every time you shop at City Market, you’ll be supporting us.
To participate, you must get a City Market Value Card and enroll online by choosing La Plata County 4-H as the organization you’d like to support. You still get all the same discounts, but the money you spend will count as votes toward the size of the donation to our county 4-H program.
Visit www.citymarketcommunityrewards.com and click “Enroll.” After logging in to your account, you will be able to enroll with your City Market Rewards number or with the phone number you use as an alternate ID.
email@example.com or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is the La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.