Mountainair Community Garden manager Joan Embree writes,
May 26, four of us went trekking to two very different gardens to see other community efforts. Addie, Carla, Tamra, and I learned much at both the Seed2Need Gardens in Corrales, Sandoval County, and at the Rio Grande Community Farm/Community Gardens area. The Corrales Food Pantry Project
Seed2Need is a (near-commercial) operation turning out thousands of pounds of food annually for area food banks and other community nutrition programs. It was started by a Sandoval County Master Gardener, Penny Davis, and her husband, Sandy. It started small, but 5 years on is running with a professional-level two-tape, pressurized watering system, a long list of volunteers (including corporate volunteer groups,) and nearly-full time management (Penny and Sandy) soliciting major donations of money and time. Sandy and Penny are growing tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, berries, melons, flowers, specialty crops for their land-donors, and a number of other crops that will be picked up by food bank or pantry operations and distributed along with the canned and packaged foods. Volunteers plant and pick the crops and help with weeding, etc., but the day-to day management and solicitation efforts are the Davis'.
The Community Garden at the Rio Grande Community Farm is managed by Americorp workers, this year, April Divine. The garden is a couple of acres of 80+-foot-long rows, each row leased for an annual fee of $40, and each tended by a different gardener (except those multiple rows in the hands of some old-timers.) This garden is watered by the flood method, once a week inundation between raised rows, and by hand-watering from steel water tanks that are filled regularly by volunteers. The gardeners share weeding and composting duties, with each responsible for his or her own row(s) and for general garden maintenance. The crops are as diverse as the gardeners and their techniques. Donations to food banks or nutrition programs in Bernalillo County are encouraged.
At our own small garden this summer, we have several plots still available. The watering system is set up and being refined. We donated the proceeds from our Farm and Garden Market sales ($60) toward our water use at the Art Center lot. Other donations to our bank account have brought it up to $199.93, and we have cash from our operation of the concessions stand at the Chamber of Commerce's Spring Fling Bingo for additional plants or water-system parts. Addie has charge of the cash envelope until someone else can take over the day-to-day operations.
Carla and I will each be gone for most of June, so those who are in town will have the opportunity to make the garden flourish. We are all, of course, hoping to raise food for "our families, our friends, and our community."
Garden tasks that need doing as of June 1: tying up peas and beans to help them survive our winds; checking the watering system regularly; planting flowers in our tire planters; finishing planting vegetable beds and maintaining the plant starts; spreading the pile of mulch along paths; repairing the garden sculpture. Regular checking on the garden will be done by Rebecca on Monday, Addie on Wednesday, Tomas on Friday, and whoever is there Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon for regular gardening day.
Thanks to everyone who has been involved and who has donated generously so far ~ Joan