Today we return to Mesa Vista Schools near Ojo Caliete to support their summer “camp” program with agriculture activities. Last Wednesday we constructed a 4′ by 4′ raised bed and planted radishes, carrots, and lettuce. This Wednesday we will give a presentation on seeds and facilitate a seed activity. Next week we will talk about food traditions and the week after will be about acequias.
Our seed activity is basically a collection of seeds of different types that the students sort into similarity and categories. Some of the seeds are new and the activity tests a student’s ability to make minute observations and categorize the collection. We have several varieties of corn, beans, other legumes, some squash varieties, and some interesting and different looking seeds like beets and gourds. This activity is fun for the students, creates a little competition between groups, and is a great launching point to grab the students attention and teach them about the kinds of seeds, diversity in agriculture, and the different uses of different crops.
The first thing I did when I got to the school was check on the raised bed we constructed last week. Several radishes have come up and I snipped the extras so that only one seedling was emerging per spot. But the most incredible thing about the garden area was that someone had made several more rows and other planting areas around our raised bed to make the area look more like a garden. It turns out that another teacher at the school, Victor Jaramillo, saw what we had done and got inspired to expand given that he has a group of high school students who are participating in a summer Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program and was able to teach them some agricultural implementation as well.
I got to meet Victor and he showed me another garden he got going with the students. The picture above shows 1/3 of the total garden which includes 3 identical plots that just differ in soil fertility. They are planting some corn, peas, tomatoes, sunflower, watermelon, and other crops. It was exciting to see how the field was converted to a garden and to hear the plans for future educational opportunities in agriculture for the students of Mesa Vista Schools. We look forward to building a relationship and collaborating more with the teachers and students in this area for the expansion of the agricultural program…