Presbyterian Kaseman Community Health Resource Center Garden
CURRENT COORDINATION & PROJECT GOALS – 2021:
- With the uncertainty of COVID and the health of our soil, we have decided to utilize the 2021 growing season to grow a “food field.” This will reduce the maintenance of having “planned plots” and will increase the biodiversity of the main growing area to help with the soil health. The food field will include, cover crop, sunflowers, wildflowers, herbs, and vegetables with a path that winds through the field for collection, maintenance, and plant identification. This work will be carried out under the guidance of NMSU Bernalillo County Extension Office.
- Cultivate the 4 main raised garden boxes.
- Host virtual/hybrid community education classes in partnership with NMSU Bernalillo County Extension.
- Integrate the garden education and gardening activities into our other Community Health programs and initiatives – Food Farmacy & Cooking Classes.
PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS – 2020:
- Soil and compost was donated by Soilutions as well as purchased from Soilutions utilizing the permaculture grant that Bernalillo County was awarded for all 9 Albuquerque Urban Agriculture Coalition Gardens.
- Sunflowers that help extract heavy metals and cover crops were planted in spring 2020 and then harvested and seeds saved to use for the 2021 season.
- Soil testing was completed November 2020.
- A new garden shed was installed in 2020.
- Edible trees and shrubs were planted in October 2020 thanks to a permaculture grant from Bernalillo County. We planted 1 apricot tree, 1 apple tree, 2 types of plum trees, 4 grape vines, 2 currant shrubs and 1 chokecherry tree. These were all purchased from Plants of the Southwest and the currants and grapes were grown in Truchas, NM from Tooley’s Trees. Tree planting was done in partnership with NMSU Bernalillo County Extension and was presented as a virtual gardening class for the community.
- We partnered with NMSU Bernalillo County Extension to host a soil health class, tree planting class, and a First Friday Winter Gardening Series (Nov-March) that covered a variety of home gardening topics to encourage the community to grow their own food.
- We were unable to carryout in-person community and staff engagement activities due to COVID-19. We then shifted community classes to a virtual platform. Additionally, we were unable to utilize volunteers to support the garden so adjusted our plans and utilized internal Presbyterian Community Health staff and Bernalillo County’s Urban Agriculture Logistics Coordinator to support the garden and focus on small projects to strengthen the infrastructure – irrigation, soil, etc.
PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS – 2019:
- PHS Healthcare Services held a grand opening for the Kaseman Community Health Resource Center and Garden on June 12th, 2019. The garden was well received. Patients can currently get a prescription from their healthcare provider to attend healthy eating and cooking classes as well as receive fruits and
vegetables from the pantry at the Resource Center.
- The initial site work was completed prior to the grand opening and soil sponges were installed to begin soil remediation at the site. ACE Leadership High School has built and delivered the 4 ADA accessible raised garden beds.
- A temporary, above-ground irrigation system has been installed to expedite the soil remediation.
- Once the soil is remediated and plants are established, patients and volunteers will be able to tend the garden and receive vegetables grown in the garden.
- Design/programming concepts include: soil health demonstration & education opportunities, urban pollinator garden, passive water harvesting techniques, etc.
- The site will serve as a gathering space for future workshops and demonstrations.
- The soil sponges or trenches can be used at almost any project to improve soil health.
- The temporary irrigation system was developed specifically for irrigating the sponges and the layout will be revised for future projects to maximize efficiency of materials and labor. The irrigation system installation began after cold weather hit and made the work more difficult and time consuming. This should occur in warmer weather in order to avoid these issues in future projects.