Van Buren Middle School Community Garden

CURRENT COORDINATION – 2020/2021:

  • We are eager to get students and volunteers back in the garden this year, so let Bridget Llanes know if you would like to be a part of our Spring-time planting think-tank and crew.
  • Van Buren Middle Schools Si Se Puede garden has been weathering out the pandemic with new garden co-coordinator Bridget Llanes after Travis McKenzie left to bless Polk Middle School with his passion for youth and skillful gardening.
  • In September 2020, Van Buren had a volunteer event Co-Lead by Community Schools Coordinator Jay Cordova, Travis McKenzie and Bridget Llanes. Much of the work in the garden this fall has been centered around fruit tree maintenance, cover cropping, re-establishing the rain garden, and cover cropping.
  • In November 2020, Interfaith Power and Light’s Forest of Bliss Campaign donated two more apple trees to the school yard orchard. IDHCC also generously donated mulch and compost from Soilutions.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS – 2019/2020:

  • In an early 2020 meeting between school staff, the APS garden specialist and APS Capital Outlay Committee, the Capital Outlay Committee showed that a new building facility is planned for the site as part of the APS Capital Master Plan.
  • General obligation bonds were passed in the November 2019 election which will provide funding for development of the facilities. The ‘Falcon Farm’ project will have to be re-envisioned if the school wants to continue moving forward with the concept.
  • APS Maintenance and Operations has provided access to potable water on-site.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • The APS Garden Specialist is meeting with members of the APS board in December 2019 to discuss the potential of providing the position with a budget for APS garden projects, such as an APS Garden Conference as well as physical garden project support.
  • APS could benefit from increased social media partnering (youtube, etc.) and recognition of donations through the APS Education Foundation.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Schools adjacent to parks and open space could provide opportunities to partner with the City, however this has been difficult in the past as there are many barriers and few overlaps in this issue.
  • APS does not have capacity for Maintenance and Operations to maintain school gardens and the responsibility for maintianing these facilities must be handled by each school’s garden manager

Location

CONTACT INFORMATION:

 

Bridget Llanes –

Bernalillo County Urban Agriculture Coordinator

[email protected]